Reese Kaplan -- Asdrubal Drivel and Reyes' Ramblings


Stories have surfaced this week that the Mets have come full circle on one Asdrubel Cabrera.  After being told he was no longer an asset at shortstop, Cabrera petulantly demanded a trade.  Depending on who you choose to believe, Sandy Alderson either patiently sat waiting for the phone to ring or actually dialed it to ascertain what other clubs would offer up in exchange for his disgruntled infielder.  Nothing transpired and thus Cabrera whose feared bad influence on rookie Amed Rosario all of the sudden became acceptable as a result of Alderson’s inability to pull off a deal and the corresponding promotion of Rosario to shift attention away from his failures.

So now that Rosario is here as well as Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Neil Walker, Wilmer Flores and the ailing duo of T.J. Rivera and David Wright, what does this mean for 2018?  (Gavin Cecchini and Matt Reynolds are also on the 40-man roster at infield positions, too, but they’re probably afterthoughts in this equation).

Well, for one thing, the whole “We’re considering bringing Cabrera back” thing could just be posturing to make other clubs think he has value to the Mets, hence he might have value to them as well.  It’s a mighty crowded infield going into next season and Cabrera might be excess.

This posturing could also be some gamesmanship aimed at one Neil Walker who is not going to get anywhere near the $17.2 million he earned this year by accepting the QO.  Walker could come back as well but by suggesting the team could be content with the less expensive option of Cabrera, it might serve to temper Walker’s salary expectations. 

Interestingly, whether Walker or Cabrera come back, it’s likely to play the somewhat unfamiliar position of third base because the lead-gloved duo of Rivera and Flores are less lethal in the field at second.  At $8 million for next year, Cabrera would likely earn about 2/3 of what you’d expect to pay Walker.  Some might call that money saved, while others might suggest that Wilmer Flores could provide more for less. 

Of course, if Jose Reyes is back and part of the picture, that further muddies the waters.  It took him a very long time to get it going this year, but he does add some speed to a rather lead footed lineup.  If he was indeed inserted at 3B as he was earlier this year, he would be able to whisper encouragement to Rosario playing alongside him.  He does not profile as a traditional corner infielder as his power is not on par with Flores or Cabrera or Walker or Wright. 

Of course, a great many people think instead the Mets should make a run at Mike Moustakas or Todd Frazier for 3rd base while others wearing the rosiest of lenses think David Wright will start the season in his usual spot (I mean at 3rd base, not his usual spot on the DL). 

Cabrera is a decent player destined to give you .268/16/74 over the course of 162 games.  Jose Reyes is 3 years older and destined to provide .286/13/64 with 47 SBs, but as the old adage goes, would you want to cross a stream that on average was two feet deep?  Those Reyes numbers are grossly inflated based upon his earlier career and his more recent efforts are much more pedestrian.  Since 2015 he’s amassed about 2 seasons worth of ABs and he provided on average .257/12/57 with 24 SBs.  That’s a man in decline. 

The question becomes who are the intended starters?  If it’s Cabrera, then you might expect somewhat better run producing numbers at the expense of batting average and speed.  I’m content with Reyes as a utility player at this stage of his career, but I think his days as starter are over.  Speed does not improve with age (unless you’re Rickey Henderson). 

For $8 million Cabrera is probably fairly paid as a starter given the state of baseball economics.  His WAR numbers last year were impressive at 2.7 but his poor defensive showing this year has him at -0.4.  He’s also in decline and one might wonder if you’re going to put a bad glove out on the field might it be better to pay the less expensive and potentially better bat of Wilmer Flores?

I’m sure the Wilpons are reluctant to spend big money on a guy like Moustakas until the David Wright situation resolves itself.  Consequently I would think a combination of Flores at 3B, Rivera at 2B and Reyes and Cecchini on the bench would be cost effective, thus allowing them to fortify their rotation and pen. 

However, given the injury histories of Walker and Cabrera who both missed significant time with their ailments and thus would be poor investments…why do I have the feeling that’s the direction they will be heading?

That unsettling feeling was underscored this week with the word coming down that Sandy Alderson is expected back in 2018.  He may not want to leave with the franchise as moribund as the one he inherited, but with the same cast of characters and management team in place do you expect a dramatic reversal of fortunes?  


Thomas Brennan said...

A lot for Sandy to sort out, when he returns next year at 70+.

Don't forget the fast rising Andres Giminez may need a starting job within 2 years. Hitting .320 in July and August at age 18. He is on an accelerated pace.

Mack Ade said...

Let us approach the 2018 second base situation without any emotion.

We have NO ONE in the system that is ready to come to Queens and play this position, both with a top bat (Cecchini is hitting around .250 in the rare air of the PCL) plus a ++ glove.

Luis Guillorme is a year away.

Cabrera has a reasonable option.

See where I am going?

Reese Kaplan said...

Flores and Rivera are cheaper and may provide more offense. They lived with Murphy there...

Thomas Brennan said...

Mack, I think the Mets go cheaper and skip Cabrera and use Flores and Rivera. This organization loves to economize. Its pitching $$ bill is climbing, despite its poor performance. Save a little here, spend a little there.

When we finish the season 45 games behind the Dodgers, do we really think we can make up 45 games on them next year? We were lucky to get by them in the 2015 NLCS with a guy named Murphy. They won't want to overspend when they can see Mount LAD in the distance.

Gary Seagren said...

All of this is a moot point because no matter how they arrange the deck chair's on this Titanic the fall from the 2015 heights is startling. Watching last night's game where I truly think if the Dodgers wanted to push the score up to 10 runs or more they could have they just got bored by the sorry competition. Our pitching is the weak link which must be addressed first and based on the fact it's crazy to spend big $$$ on starting pitching and Sandy wouldn't anyway we could be looking at a few years to put together a solid enough team to compete with the elite clubs. The Wildcard gives us and many others hope but it's so sad that our amazing run to the WS in 2015 and the promise it provided expired so quickly. Mack I saw that the new kid Drew Smith in his last 13 innings only walked 1 batter! Lets get him up here and he could fly here with the other Smith or is it more important to get Grandy some more AB's?

Mack Ade said...

Gary -

Let us leave Smith in the minors and hone his game for 2018.

I like him a lot and I do not want him to be exposed to the negativity from fans and press this season.

Reese Kaplan said...

It's equally important to showcase Granderson and Bruce to see if anyone wants them. The only way you'll move Granderson is if you pay down his salary which is not the Mets way of doing things. Bruce has publicly said he wants to test free agency, so if they think the QO is the way to go, they are likely not going to be burned again. Consequently in the hopes they get a 70-80 pick they will not make much of an effort to trade their best hitter this year (though Conforto is making up ground on Bruce very quickly).

I agree about Smith -- how about you swap places with Robles? Or Salas? Or Bradford? Or Goeddel? One of them could be bounced from the 40-man roster to make room, but then the smartest guy in the room would have to admit his mistakes.

Gary Seagren said...

Yes a QOer on Bruce who is probably our MVP and could end up with 35+ HR's is a no brainer and a much better move than the QOer for Walker last year coming off an injury an having to pay him $17.3 million ouch!

Mack's Mets © 2012