Are the Nationals moving on with their infield construction, having found Josh Donaldson and/or the Cubs unworkable? Just wondering.
The Nationals signed infielder Starlin Castro last night, primarily for second base, and now they’ve also added Asdrubal Cabrera:
Nats in agreement with Asdrubal Cabrera. @ByRobertMurray said close
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 4, 2020
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 4, 2020
Like Castro, Cabrera is not quite a sure-fire starter at this point in his career, but also like Castro, he has been to this point. He brings a slightly-above-average bat, and the ability to play all over the infield. He’s a nice guy to have on the roster, regardless of how you plan to use him, especially at that price tag. Great bench piece, right? (At that price, would’ve been nice for the Cubs to be involved, actually … anyway.)
But when you combine his addition with the addition of Castro? Sure makes you wonder if the Nationals are covering themselves up in the infield.
To be sure, the Nationals had a huge hole at third base AND at second base, so bringing in a couple infielders – even before deciding on an impact third baseman – would not necessarily be surprising, especially guys who are starter-adjacent like Castro and Cabrera. Otherwise, if they were left holding the bag on Donaldson/Bryant, they might be forced to push top prospect Carter Kieboom immediately into a starting role.
But now, with Castro and Cabrera in place, the Nationals look a whole lot less desperate to make an addition. I wouldn’t be surprised if they use this as an opportunity now to signal to the world that they’re all set – and Donaldson can take their current offer or leave it, because they aren’t improving it.
As for Bryant, with a little more security in place, the Nationals probably feel a lot less pressure to get something done if they don’t get Donaldson on their terms (if they continue pursuing him at all).
Heck, for all we know, the Castro and Cabrera signings were wrapped up quickly behind the scenes because Donaldson had already signaled to them he was going in another direction … we’ll see …