Mets finalizing a deal for Asdrubal Cabrera
The Mets may be taking another step in an attempt to shore up their middle infield depth, as they’re close to agreeing to a deal for Asdrubal Cabrera, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.
Cotillo says the deal is for two years plus a third year club option, and it guarantees Cabrera $18.5 million, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
The deal is pending a physical.
Cabrera hit .265/.315/.430 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI with 36 walks and 107 strikeouts in 551 plate appearances over 143 games with the Rays in 2015, and hit .328/.372/.544 in the second half.
Cabrera has always had decent power, which of course is his best asset. He doesn’t walk a lot and strikes out quite a bit as well, but he can be counted on for 25+ doubles and 10-15 home runs per season, making him a mostly league average to slightly below league average producer at the plate.
The problem is Cabrera’s defense. He can play both second base and shortstop, but he isn’t very good at either, although he seems to be a better second baseman than he is a shortstop. He performed similarly to Wilmer Flores at shortstop this past season, which really wasn’t unusual for him considering his track record. Cabrera has trouble turning double plays, and for a team which struggled to do just that throughout the course of 2015, they should be endeavoring to improve upon that, and not maintain the status quo at best.
And for a team trying to improve their defense, this is certainly a curious maneuver.
Certainly, Cabrera can be an insurance policy up the middle, which is sensible considering both Flores and Ruben Tejada are coming off broken bones in their legs. And such a move allows the Mets to shift Flores to third base to give David Wright a reprieve as needed and keep Tejada on the bench as a utility middle infielder.
From an offensive perspective, the Mets add a significant layer of power to the lineup, and the Mets certainly hope he resembles the player he was in the second half of 2015, especially if his weaknesses are protected.
And insurance could be precisely what this move is about. It strengthens the Mets bench for sure, but the Mets need to be careful about how much Cabrera plays, especially at shortstop where his defense can often hurt.
He can platoon with either of their right-handed hitting shortstops as well.
This presumably ends any possibility of the Mets retaining Juan Uribe, and possibly Kelly Johnson as well.
It could also mean the Mets might move one of their shortstops as well, but time will tell.