The Philadelphia Phillies aren’t short on middle infield options, but they are reportedly interested in adding another player with roots up the middle.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, Matt Klentak’s front-office is among those showing interest in New York Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera:
Asdrubal Cabrera could be the next Met to move: He’s hitting .280, .332 OBP, 17 homers, positional flexibility. Brewers, Cleveland, Phillies among the teams with interest in him.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 22, 2018
Cabrera, a two-time All-Star, is in the midst of one of the finest offensive seasons of his career. The 32-year-old is slashing .280/.332/.487 with 17 home runs, 53 RBIs and an 11.8 offensive WAR. Though he’s a natural shortstop, he’s made all of his starts at second base this year. In the event that the Phillies acquired him, however, they would likely be more interested in him playing shortstop. He also played in 44 games at third base in 2017, so he would become an option there.
If acquired, Cabrera would serve as an upgrade over Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford at shortstop, two promising rookies who haven’t had promising seasons. Crawford, currently on the disabled list with a broken-hand, would then compete for playing time at third base with Maikel Franco when he returns. Kingery could get still get some at-bats at shortstop, some at third base and also some in right field, where the Phillies haven’t gotten consistent production from either Aaron Altherr or Nick Williams.
Cabrera would be a free-agent at the season’s end, giving the Phillies an upgrade during the pennant race, and then flexibility in the offseason. If Cabrera’s hypothetical tenure in Philadelphia went well, the Phillies could re-sign him. But acquiring him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline wouldn’t preclude the team from pursuing Manny Machado this offseason or giving Kingery or Crawford a chance to be the everyday shortstop in 2019.