11/9/16

Reese Kaplan -- A Never-Mentioned Trade Chip

8 comments
When people think what the Mets can trade to fortify their roster, the conversation naturally begins with starting pitching.  After all, they have five young starters who have demonstrated varying degrees of above average competence already in the big league.  Then you have the latecomers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman who certainly opened up some eyes.

After that you have the young and enigmatic Michael Conforto who is still a chip others would likely want to have.  Then there are the two crown offensive jewels of the farm system – Amed Rosario and Dom Smith. 

Further down the chain you have the standout season of Thomas Szapucki who, in his brief minor league career, has produced absolutely eye popping numbers (including striking out nearly 15 batters per nine innings pitched). 

However, many clubs want major league ready talent that’s pretty much a sure thing that can be penciled into the lineup with a reasonable expectation of what they will get.  Contending clubs in particular often take this route where that one extra veteran piece could put them over the top.  Now we’re not talking a much ballyhooed Jay Bruce trade or even Lucas Duda (warts and all), or a wish-upon-a-star Curtis Granderson move.  No, there’s a name almost never mentioned that is an extremely valuable commodity that the Mets could move in the right package.

When Sandy Alderson inked Asdrubal Cabrera to a two year deal worth $16.5 million it was greeted with neither enthusiasm nor derision.  There were many who applauded the move given the horrific memories of Terry Collins’ infatuation with Ruben Tejada, or the painful memories of Wilmer Flores trying to man shortstop.  Cabrera had a reputation as an offense-first shortstop so it puzzled some that he was chosen to shore up a defensive liability, but he surprised many by rebounding with a highly competent showing on the left side of the diamond.

What many were not expecting was the offensive rebound that approached his standout season of 2011 when he hit 25 HRs and drove in 92.  This past year in 10 fewer games he hit 23 home runs and drove in 62 (while hitting in non-RBI spots in the order) while hitting .280.  He’s signed for another year for $8.25 million and there’s an option for a third year as well at $8.5 million (or a $2 million buyout).

Here’s where it gets interesting.  Just as those attributes are very attractive to the Mets, so too would they be appealing on the open market. 

But wait!  We finally have a guy playing a competent shortstop with great offensive production and you want to dump him?  WHY??????????????????????

The answer comes in two parts.  The first part is named Jose Reyes and the second is named Amed Rosario.  Jose Reyes is renewed at major league minimum for this year.  After this year he’s out on the open market once again.  He is a competent bridge to the future.  Rosario should be playing this coming season in AAA at shortstop.  In 2018 he should be handed the job in the major leagues. 

Rather than trading off the young Rosario and his cost controlled years, would the Mets be better served in this scenario by selling high (higher than he’s like every going to be) on Cabrera?

I can hear everyone already say, but…but what about David Wright’s health?  What about Neil Walker turning down the QO?

Well, there you have Wilmer Flores, TJ Rivera and Gavin Cecchini as backups (with Ty Kelly and Matt Reynolds behind them).  Maybe they’ll even exhibit some intelligence this off-season and sign Kelly Johnson as well. 

Since it costs nothing to speculate, imagine what you could land in trade with a package centered around Asdrubal Cabrera?  Could he bring back a front line catcher?  Could he bring back a top tier 2nd center fielder?  Could he bring that 8th inning setup guy who will be needed if Addison Reed must become the closer?

8 comments:

Thomas Brennan said...

Interesting to discuss, Reese. He certainly would be a marketable asset. I, though, loved the team's overall power output in 2016, and would hate to see him traded and Cespedes leave along with Walker. That's a lot of disappearing dingers.

Don't forget Phil Evans for the IF, after he hit .335 to win the batting title in AA...more apparent (and very pleasantly surprising) depth.

Frank Anon said...

You forgot about TJ Rivera in the infield also

Mack Ade said...

I CAN'T SIGN OFF ON -

1. trading Cabrera

2. Continuing to re-inventing the wheel

Reese Kaplan said...

No, I mentioned him

Eddie Corona said...

OMG... Great article and great thought...
now I agree this is not a no brainier move but its one where you should be open to... I view players in 7 year blocks... Cabrera is not a 7 year Met...But he is a hell of a Asset... and I am always a sell high asset... Your so right... we have Rosario (who may be ready this year but expected next) and Reyes at 500K. And we can still look in free agency for another Cabrera type acquisition for the bench.
Where I argue in keeping him is that I think he really became a fabric of the team club house... he was the heart and i believe kept things lose... and then he did perform...
But if he would bring you a Catcher, a 3b prospect, a CF prospect, or a reliable arm then you should explore it... (Explore doesn't meant do it)...
the best GMs believe no one is un-tradeable... and better to trade someone a year too soon than too late...
Look at the list of players Theo got rid of in order to build that monster... we should not be so foolish to think of only today when the Future is so much longer..
Again explore all options... Cabrera, Flores, (another one i would explore if someone is willing to buy high), Reyes if someone wants a cheap option), Bruce, Grandy, Reed (tough one with the familia issue but if you were willing to sign Chapman and sell high on reed that would be fine by me)...
all of them... some of them...
It takes risk to be bold... BE BOLD...

Hobie said...

Good thoughts, Reese.

Usually I find identifying a target acquisition and musing over what you are willing to surrender (max price) a more constructive exercise than identifying a surplus to be spent without specific return, in this case the speculation is worth while.

Adam Smith said...

I'm not sure I want to depend on Reyes to be an everyday SS. I could be wrong about this, but I'd certainly have my reservations. And none of the guys you mentioned behind him is really a big league SS at all. And if you want to be a contending team in '17, it would really help to be strong there.

I think you hope for another good year from him, exercise the third year option next offseason and trade him then, when Rosario is ready to take over. Sure you'all get less for him a year from now, but you get the season you need, likely a pretty good one at a vital position, in a season where you're presumably going for it all. It shouldn't be too hard to remember the pain of watching fill-ins playing there for a whole season (or three). It's an important position. You've got it covered now, and you've got it covered in the future (and could even get some value back for Cabrera next year to boot). Why mess with it?

Mike Maar said...

It is an interesting thought. I hadn't considered it mostly because of how happy I am with Cabrera's play. But with Walker now back, and IF they do resign Cespedes, it leaves Reyes out in the cold. I think Reyes still has enough game to consider it a waste to make him a bench player. He's still up to everyday leadoff duties. So if they sign Cespedes, I'd be open to trading Cabrera if it brings back some good value. If they don't sign Yo, I think they need Cabrera's pop.

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