This comes a day after the team traded Justin Masterson to the Cardinals for outfield prospect James Ramsey, which means the two most-tenured players on the team have now been sent out in the span of two days.
Cabrera has been with the Indians since the team stole him from Seattle as a prospect in a 2006 trade (making his MLB debut in 2007), but he's in his last season before free agency, and with Francisco Lindor knocking on the door, it would make no sense for the team to have kept Cabrera beyond this year, and they were unlikely to have made him a qualifying offer, meaning a trade today was the only way to get anything back for him.
Cabrera was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, but he has not been as good a player the last two seasons, with a batting line of .244/.301/.395 for the last ~1.5 years, which is a bit better than average for an MLB shortstop. Factor in mediocre defense, and while he's certainly merited a starting job, he's no longer anyone to write home about. He's still only 28, so maybe he rebounds, but it feels to me like his time as a significant player is behind him.
More on this trade, including the return, and what this move means for the Indians going forward to follow.