Dodgers: Adding Mauricio Cabrera Would be Brilliant

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Mauricio Cabrera
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Mauricio Cabrera /

Rarely does the opportunity present itself for a team to claim a triple-digit pitcher off waivers. On Monday, February 19th, the Atlanta Braves designated 24-year-old reliever, Mauricio Cabrera, for assignment and the Dodgers would be foolish not to take a stab at the young flamethrower.

Mauricio Cabrera was born in Las Matas de Farfan, Dominican Republic. Since a young age, Cabrera was a baseball standout amongst his peers. At just 17, Cabrera was signed by the Atlanta Braves as he possessed something few pitcher have: a 100+ mph four-seam fastball and a triple-digit sinker.

The following year, now 18 years old, Mauricio Cabrera moved to the United States where he made his debut in the minor leagues. That was in 2012. Four years later in 2016, the 22-year-old Cabrera got the call to the big leagues and he did not disappoint.

That year, 2016, Cabrera pitched in 40 total games and logged six saves. Across his 38.1 innings, he had an ERA of 2.82, a WHIP of 1.30, a 3.04 FIP, and an elite ERA+ of 148. His dominance was clear and it went beyond the regular statistics. His two super-speed pitches were ranked amongst the most elite in all of baseball. He was throwing pitches that rivaled those of Aroldis Chapman in velocity. 2016 was a welcome party for what looked to be the games next great reliever.

But, this fairytale was too good to be true as his promising career did a 180 in the wrong direction. Just a couple weeks into spring training 2017, Cabrera began experiencing elbow discomfort. With everyone’s heads assuming the worst, the Braves sent Cabrera in for testing where it was concluded he would not need any surgeries but just some time off.

Spring ended and Cabrera was not healthy. The short break prescribed by the doctor turned into months and Cabrera was placed on the 60-day DL to start the season. The time past and he was sent on a rehab assignment where nothing looked right.

Cabrera was activated from the DL just to be optioned to the minors where he not only stayed for the rest of the year but struggled in a big way at every level.

That was last year. Now, Cabrera has been DFA’d and at 24-years-old the hard-throwing pitcher finds himself on waivers. But, struggle and injury are small obstacles the Dodgers should be willing to look past. With his youth and raw talent, the Dodgers should take a shot on Cabrera.

When he is healthy, Mauricio Cabrera has emphatically proven he is a capable reliever. His ERA, ERA+, and FIP from 2016 suggest his abilities are no fluke. His success in 2016, while very good,

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does not discount his struggles in 2017 but that should make this even more tempting for the Dodgers’ front office. A reclamation and rehabilitation opportunity is one Andrew Friedman and his team has jumped on for years.

Players like Rich Hill, Brandon McCarthy, Brandon Morrow, and even Hyun Jin Ryu to a certain extent, are examples of chances the team took on a questionable player. Morrow is the perfect comparison. He has a track record of success and a triple-digit pitch. His ability to throw the ball was there but his ability to stay healthy was not. They gave him a minor league deal and he ended up being the Dodgers most used reliever in the World Series.

With Morrow on the Cubs, why not take another chance on someone who throws two pitches even harder than Morrow did? Cabrera, if rehabbed properly, could be a rising star and fill a giant void in the pen.  

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Cabrera has the talent to be incredible and while any pitcher in his situation would have a bleak outlook he is just 24 years old. The price will be next to nothing because he is hurt and struggling but that is all the more reason why this makes sense. Mauricio Cabrera is a risk worth taking. The Dodgers have never been deterred by a project and Cabrera would be a big one. At the price of pennies, the Dodgers should absolutely take a chance on someone with the potential to be amazing. Mauricio Cabrera, the right-handed Aroldis Chapman, is a player worth having.