Asdrubal Cabrera was in the Indians training room Thursday afternoon in Cleveland when manager Terry Francona called him into his office. Having heard rumors over the last few seasons - and knowing this is a contract year - the two-time All-Star figured out fairly quickly what the impromptu meeting was for.
"As soon as he called me, I know," he said.
Cabrera was traded along with cash considerations for infielder Zach Walters less than an hour before the 2014 MLB non-waiver trade deadline. With a game in Washington the following day, Cabrera had to quickly move on from the only MLB home he had ever known.
Cabrera played all eight of his major league seasons with the Indians before joining the Nationals, and though the news was an initial shock, he is excited to leave a losing team to join one on the cusp of a pennant race.
"It's a little hard, you know, when you play eight seasons with one team. For the first 10 minutes you don't know what to do, but that's the business. That's baseball," he said.
Cabrera has appeared in the playoffs twice - in 2007 and 2013 - and hopes he can help the Nationals secure a postseason berth.
"That made me excited. When you go to a team like this, the Nationals, they are in first place. You want to play in big games, so that made me feel good."
Manager Matt Williams put Cabrera right into the starting lineup at second base, hitting him seventh between Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos. Seventh, Williams believes, will allow Cabrera to transition easier, as in the American League he rarely had to hit in front of a pitcher.
Cabrera said he does not care where he hits in the lineup, and thinks he will be fine at second base. The 28-year-old has 162 games under his belt at second, but has not played there since 2009.
"That was the position I played when I got called up from Cleveland. I played second for two years there, so I'm pretty comfortable there," he said.
Cabrera believes the transition from the Indians to the Nationals will be seamless. There is one minor concern, however.
His 7-year-old son was not happy when he heard his family would be moving. His biggest worry, apparently, was that he wouldn't be allowed to go into his father's MLB clubhouse anymore.
Williams, though, said the Nats will try and accommodate him when he arrives on Saturday.
"His son is very upset," Williams explained. "He's 7-years-old and doesn't feel like he'll be able to go in the clubhouse anymore. So we've certainly invited his son in, when he gets here tomorrow, to come into the clubhouse. We'll outfit him in all the new garb, so he'll be excited about that."
"He's going to be okay," Cabrera said. "As soon as he is here, I will tell him [he can go in]. He was the one worried, but he will be happy."