Sandy Alderson may be sick, but he and the Mets front office is staying busy. On the same day the Mets made a trade for second baseman Neil Walker, they have reportedly signed free agent middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. The deal is reportedly worth $18.5M over two years, plus a third year team option. The move comes as a definite head-scratcher, as it seems everyone thought the infield was settled after the Walker trade.
Clearly the Mets wanted to head in a different direction at shortstop, as now the infield aligns very differently with veterans Cabrera and Walker up the middle.
Cabrera has never been able to match his .273 average, 25 home run, 17 stolen base 2011 season with the Indians, but has been relatively productive nonetheless as a member of Cleveland, the Nationals, and Rays. He held his own with a 2.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) last year with Tampa Bay, batting .265 with 15 homers after a slow start to the season. I wouldn’t consider him a huge upgrade from Wilmer Flores, but certainly adds to the Mets options in the infield. The guaranteed $18.5 million concerns me, though, as I fear that could take money away from an impact bat.
Cabrera looks to be the starting shortstop, yet Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports claims he could be used at third on days Wright needs a break—which I tend to doubt given that he has a total of 1.1 innings played there, which took place all the way back in 2007. For now, at least, I would guess that Ruben Tejada would be the guy to step in at third, as long as there’s not a Flores trade in the [water]works.
Some trade candidates that come to mind are the Yankees’ Brett Gardner, the White Sox’ Adam Eaton or Avisail Garcia, and the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon. If I were an optimistic Mets fan, I would say Sandy is in the works for George Springer, whom the Astros have recently made available. All of these are attractive options—but only time will tell. My only concern is the signing a mediocre middle infielder warranting the front office not adding an impact bat. I have a feeling Sandy and the rest of the Mets executives have some tricks up their sleeves, though—I’m guessing we’ll be seeing at least one more big move before spring training.