Cabrera has struggled to a .246/.305/.386 line this season, but should be a regular starter in the middle infield for the Nationals down the stretch. He is, in fact, in the starting lineup for Friday's game against the Phillies, batting seventh and playing second base.
Barrett has been a solid member of the team's bullpen this season, posting a 3.21 ERA in 33 2/3 innings, with 43 strikeouts and 18 walks overall.
The two years that have passed since
Cabrera slipped into mediocrity at the plate after earning his second All-Star Game appearance in 2012 and has stayed there. His plate discipline disappeared in a spate of overaggressiveness, causing his strikeouts to rise to alarming levels. He frustrated the Indians in recent years with his inability to hit in the clutch - he's batting .188 with runners in scoring position and is hitless in 13 at-bats with a runner on third and two outs this season.
More disturbing has been his defensive collapse. Cabrera wowed the Indians early in his career with acrobatic, dependable work at shortstop that overshadowed mediocre range. He is now among the worst middle infielders in the sport with 14 errors that was until recently the most at his position in the American League and arguably the worst range in the league. That problem will not be any less pronounced with a move to second base, where he is expected to spend most of his time in Washington.
Cabrera will be seeking to maximize his value in free agency in the offseason. He will command $10 million a year or more if he somehow reverts to the form that made him an all-star. Too much time has passed for that to be a realistic possibility.
For the second time in his last three starts,
Gonzalez has not won a decision since July 5 against the Cubs. He owns a 3.88 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP over 17 starts (97 1/3 innings). He will try to pick up the pieces in his next start on Saturday at home against Seattle.
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