Alex Rodriguez would not be surprised to see Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations pull off a trade for Miguel Cabrera.
Fourteen years ago the Boston Red Sox nearly pulled off a trade to acquire Alex Rodriguez to be the new middle of the order bat who would finally lift the team to championship glory. The deal fell apart and the superstar shortstop was instead shipped to the New York Yankees, where he became one of Boston’s biggest villains.
As an analyst for Fox Sports in his post-playing career, A-Rod has new idea for how the Red Sox can find an anchor for their lineup. During the pregame show on FS1 leading up to Saturday’s matinee at Fenway Park, Rodriguez stated “I would not be surprised to see Dave Dombrowski pull off a blockbuster and get Miguel Cabrera to the Red Sox.”
To which I say, no thanks.
The connection to Cabrera goes back to 1999 when Dombrowski signed him as an amateur free agent during his tenure as the general manager for the Florida Marlins. He would later trade for him in 2007 when he was running the Detroit Tigers front office.
A-Rod’s line of thinking is pretty clear. Boston could use a power hitter to replace the retired David Ortiz and Cabrera has been one of the best hitters in the game for over a decade. The two-time MVP and four-time batting champ has bashed 30+ home runs in 10 of the last 14 seasons. A bat of that caliber would fit nicely in any lineup.
The question is, does the 34-year old still carry a bat of that caliber? Based on what we’ve seen this year, the answer is a resounding, “No.”
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Cabrera enters the day batting a career-low .267 with an .808 OPS that would represent his lowest since his debut season in 2003. He’s hit 12 home runs and driven in 43 RBI. His production this season would only be a marginal upgrade over what the Red Sox are already getting from Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland.
With Hanley hogging the designated hitter role the Red Sox would be unable to plug Cabrera into that spot, while defensively he would be a massive downgrade at first base from Moreland. Where exactly would they fit Cabrera in the lineup? No, he’s not moving back to third base, a position he hasn’t played regularly since 2013 and one he was never good at fielding.
Not only would Boston be on the hook for the prorated remainder of this year’s salary, Cabrera is still owed $184 million over the next six years on a contract that runs through his age 40 season. If he’s already showing signs of decline entering his mid-30’s, how much of an albatross will his contract appear to be by the end of it?
Rodriguez noted that Boston has the financial resources and prospects to pull off a blockbuster deal. That may be true, although they would be far better served allocating those resources elsewhere. Detroit would have to eat a large portion of that remaining salary if they hope to receive any blue-chip prospects in return. Owner John Henry’s wallet could afford to take on Cabrera’s massive salary, but the team’s hesitance to cross the luxury tax threshold suggests they won’t.
A bounty of prospects and the draconian tax penalties may all be worth it if they were trading for the Cabrera that Dombrwoski knew from his days in Florida and Detroit. Or if he was at least putting up the All-Star numbers he produced last year. Yet there’s little evidence to show that Cabrera is still that same hitter. We are seeing the decline of a fading star and it’s not getting any better as he ages.
The Red Sox recently washed their hands of an overpaid former star. They shouldn’t be in a rush to add another.