SARASOTA–The Orioles officially announced the signing of infielder Everth Cabrera to a one-year, $2.4 million deal on Wednesday, clearing a roster spot on the 40-man by designating Alex Hassan for assignment.
Cabrera is expected to meet with the media on Wednesday afternoon. Part of Cabrera’s deal includes a Minor League option, but he will be given every opportunity to make the O’s team out of camp and contribute significantly. The plan is for Baltimore to use Cabrera, who has predominantly played shortstop over his career, in the outfield some this spring to present a utility option for them. He will also get a majority of his reps at second base.
Cabrera, who lead the National League with 44 steals in 2012, has 99 stolen bases over the past three seasons and presents a different option —and perhaps a leadoff guy— for an Orioles club without Nick Markakis. Cabrera batted .232/.272/.300 with three home runs and 20 RBI in 90 games with the Padres in 2014. In 481 career games, he has hit .248/.319/.333 with 12 home runs, 128 RBI, and 136 stolen bases.
But the 28-year-old doesn’t come without some baggage. In addition to being implicated in the Biogenesis scandal, and subsequently suspended, Cabrera is facing a misdemeanor charge for resisting arrest during a Sept. 3 incident.On that day, Cabrera was arrested on the suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana and was also cited for possession. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail. Cabrera has pleaded not guilty; the trial is set for mid-April.
Still, the Orioles haven’t shied away from taking on controversial players in the past few years, adding both Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young last year, and Showalter seemed fairly confident that Cabrera would fit in with the rest of the clubhouse.
“The risk factor is very much on our side,” Showalter said Tuesday. “We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t.”
Cabrera, who can earn up to an additional $600,000 in incentives, has also had some hamstring issues and Showalter said the team was impressed with the work he’s put in to make sure his legs are healthy and he stays on teh field. Cabrera’s arrival, which comes a week after news broke of the agreement, will make for some intrigue in camp as he competes with Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop for time in the infield.