The Diamondbacks finished 2012 with an 81-81 record, third in the National League West. While one could point to any number of reasons why they did not finish better, one position in particular was an area of concern. Their primary shortstop, Stephen Drew, did not get his first at-bat until late June due to an injury sustained in late 2011. When he did return, he was no more successful, hitting to a tune of .193/.290/.311. He was traded to the Oakland Athletics in August.
Drew was the longest tenured shortstop in Arizona history, and his departure puts them in a place they have not been since his rookie year- in the market for a replacement. Since the free agent class at shortstop lacks depth (Drew himself is the best available option), the Dbacks have explored trades. The dominant rumor is trading right fielder Justin Upton to the Texas Rangers for a package including Elvis Andrus. However Texas seems reluctant to include Andrus or young prospect Jurickson Profar, and a deal seems unlikely.
The Diamondbacks may have found a match with another American League team, the Cleveland Indians and Asdrubal Cabrera. The Indians have made it clear that they are willing to listen to offers for anyone on the roster, and that includes the two-time All-Star. Cabrera is signed through the 2014 season with $16.5 million still remaining on his contract. The allure of Cabrera is that he is under team control at an affordable rate, and most importantly for the Dbacks, would not cost Upton.
While the price would not be Upton, it would still be understandably high. The Indians have always been able to produce major league hitters, pitching is an area in which they have struggled. Not since CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee has Cleveland had a great pitcher. Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona) and Justin Masterson have shown flashes of All-Star potential, they still need help. The Diamondbacks have pitchers to spare. While top prospects Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs would presumably be off-limits, second-tier pitchers like Patrick Corbin, Charles Brewer or Chase Anderson could appeal to the Indians. No matter who the names are, Arizona has the young pitching to consummate a deal.
Cabrera would be able to slide into the middle of their lineup, presumably in the fifth or sixth spot, and play a serviceable defensive game at shortstop. While his defense is not as good as his ESPN circus-like acrobatics lead people to believe, he is still serviceable and hits very well for a shortstop. 81-81 is not good enough for a team that is one year removed from an NL West title, and Cabrera might be the final piece that could boost the Diamondbacks back to the postseason.