By: Joe Messineo

Grading the Signing: Mets Get Asdrubal Cabrera

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When the Mets missed out on “super utility man” Ben Zobrist, they didn’t wait long to act. First, they traded LHP Jon Niese to Pittsburgh in exchange for 2B Neil Walker. Then, they signed their new shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera.

Now the Mets have a whole new middle infield despite missing out on the versatile Zobrist. Cabrera is a good fit, because he doesn’t cost too much but allows the Mets to make a crucial upgrade. The Mets have long wanted to move on from the weak-hitting Ruben Tejada at shortstop, but his replacement, Wilmer Flores, didn’t have the defensive chops to handle the transition to the shortstop position and, occasionally, seemed to hit as poorly as Tejada did.

Mets fans’ frustration with Flores and Tejada is finally over. Their new shortstop, Asdrubal Cabrera, is a reliable everyday player who will provide more value than Flores or Tejada. But did the Mets get a good deal on him? Let’s take a look.

The Player

Asdrubal Cabrera is a 30-year-old shortstop who spent most of his career with the Cleveland Indians before brief stints with Washington and Tampa Bay. He’s a career .267 hitter with a decent amount of pop: he hit 15 home runs last year. His batting average and power numbers are similar to Wilmer Flores’, but he gets on base better and doesn’t have the same defensive issues. He was worth 1.7 WAR last year.

The Deal

The Mets inked Cabrera to a two-year deal that will cost them $18.5 million. The average annual value is $9.25 million. Cabrera will only be 32 when the deal is up – his defense may decline a bit before then, but the Mets shouldn’t be on the hook for any truly terrible decline years.

Grading the Signing

Cabrera is no game-changer. His offensive statistics don’t represent a significant improvement over Flores, and his defensive skills may decline a bit now that he’s on the wrong side of 30. With that said, though, we like this signing.

The reason this signing works isn’t necessarily because Cabrera is an amazing player, but rather because he gives the Mets a bit more flexibility with their lineup in 2016 and 2017.

With Cabrera manning shortstop, the Mets can finally get Flores out of that position and relegate him to a backup role at second (or perhaps even a platoon role with Neil Walker). Tejada becomes pretty superfluous, so the Mets could part with him sooner rather than later. With the Cabrera deal only lasting two years, the Mets can still get a more permanent solution from inside or outside the organization to take them over the top in a few years. In the meantime, 2 years and $18.5 million won’t break the bank. This signing isn’t spectacular, but it’s not supposed to be. It brings the Mets a little bit closer to their goals, and it doesn’t cost them much.

Our grade: B

About Joe Messineo

Joe is a co-founder of Rukkus, a web & mobile marketplace for sports tickets. As a former Division I pitcher, he has a deep love for sports and a passion for writing.

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