The transitional bridge: Asdrubal Cabrera

AsdrubalCabrera181215It is well known throughout the baseball world that the New York Mets possess one of the top shortstop prospects in the entire league. His name is Amed Rosario, and he is expected by many to possibly reach the big leagues by the end of 2017. Until then though, the Mets will have a completely capable shortstop to fill the gap between now and Rosario’s arrival. Signed by the Mets on December 15th, 2015, Asdrubal Cabrera will be the starting shortstop when the doors open on the 2017 season.

Last season, Cabrera posted a slash line of .280/.336/.474 while hitting 23 home runs and driving in 62 RBIs. While these numbers weren’t exactly up to the standard of what he produced in the 2011 season, when he was an All-Star for the first of two times, Cabrera still produced at a solid clip for the Mets. This should have the team feeling confident at the position not only for this season, but also seasons down the road. While many minds will be on Rosario this season, Cabrera should not be forgotten.

Cabrera may end up having a significant impact on the lineup this season. The fact that he is a switch-hitter makes him extremely valuable to the lineup. Also, last season, Cabrera batted in seven of the possible nine spots in the lineup, meaning he is well-versed in many potential situations at the plate. This could be crucial to the lineup with the return of Lucas Duda and David Wright possibly shaking things up. Last season, Cabrera also showed competency at the shortstop position last year, proving to be an exciting one-two punch on turning a double play.

Of course, when Rosario reaches the big leagues, he will be met with large fanfare and high expectations. But unless he is called up to replace Cabrera, he should not expect to be handed the starting job. Rosario will have to work hard to beat out the savvy shortstop. Cabrera showed last season that even at age 30, he still has range. For what it’s worth, Cabrera last season was the most consistent fielding shortstop the Mets have had since José Reyes was manning the helm at the position. Cabrera committed only seven errors last season, good enough for the third-least errors by a shortstop in all of the MLB. All of this success by Cabrera not only benefits the Mets, but it may also benefit Rosario as well.

In the case that Rosario does get called up before the season ends, he will be under the tutelage of two veteran shortstops. Both Cabrera and Reyes will be able to mentor and help further develop Rosario as a player. And while Cabrera would still likely start over Rosario, it would still be a great learning experience for the shortstop prospect. Both Cabrera and the Mets know that Rosario is the shortstop of the future. Cabrera should be commended for his hard work and effort that he put into the 2016 season, and for putting up the numbers that he did. Should Cabrera have a similar season this year, the Mets will have made a great two-year investment. And if he falters, the Mets can simply give Wilmer Flores more opportunities or bring up Rosario to play. Up to this point though, Cabrera has been a fantastic bridge from the shortstops of the past few seasons to the shortstop of the future, Rosario.

10 comments for “The transitional bridge: Asdrubal Cabrera

  1. Jimmy P
    February 25, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I do not see this organization committing to two rookies in the infield in 2018, with Rosario and Smith.

    So I think it would be ideal if Rosario makes it up this season, after the break, and establishes himself as a bona fide player, good to go.

    At that point, if Rosario answers the questions correctly, the Mets might feel a little more comfortable going with a rookie at 1B.

    Let’s not forget, very likely Conforto is put in mothballs this season, never gets chance for consistent ABs, so he possibly represents another uncertainty in 2018.

    This is not my POV, just a reflection of what I see in this organization, particularly if they are in “win now” mode.

    I like Cabrera at 3B.

  2. February 25, 2017 at 11:21 am

    An .800+ OPS is not average and Cabrera got red hot down the stretch. I could see him at second or third next year.

  3. Popeye
    February 25, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Smith,Cechini,Rosario,Cabrera the 2018 starting infield?

    • Name
      February 25, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      I know we havent had a top prospect debut last year, but have we already forgotten about manipulating service time?

      Keep then in the minors for 3-4 weeks to start the season and you’ll get an extra season of control.

  4. John Fox
    February 25, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    The front office may have thought of Cabrera as a transitional bridge from the get go, signing him to a 2 year contract figuring Rosario would be ready by the time Cabrera’s contract expires

  5. Eraff
    February 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Next Years Roster is likely to include Rosario, Cheech, Conforto, Nimmo, Smith…a big motivator to get Conforto settled. You just cannot win with everyone Teething at the same time—and I expect them to compete through the next 3 years.

    • TexasGusCC
      February 25, 2017 at 10:50 pm

      Eraff, I would absolutely love to see that. The rookies can be spread throughout the lineup where they can grow. Nimmo belongs at #1 or #2; Smith can bat 7th and Rosario 8th. The leadership will have to come from Cespedes, Walker, and the catcher.

      I would take it a step further and say that whoever is at 3B will need to do some heavy lifting. Is it Cabrera? Will it be Wright? Doubtful it will be Reyes and I’m not expecting Flores to finish this year in the Mets, much less be here next year. Only if talks with Walker fall through will they keep Flores.

  6. February 26, 2017 at 6:29 am

    The Mets entire 2017 infield are all potential 2018 free agents plus there is the David Wright situation. This would leave a non-existent infield in which two rookies (Smith and Rosario) may be asked to step up, not a situation contenders should be in.
    If Walker is not re-signed, Cabrera has an option year for 2018 and has worked out at second base. If Walker is re-signed Cabrera could move over to third unless Reyes also gets re-signed – confused yet?
    And then there is the outfield for this year. The Mets are such an on-going, never ending collection of questions marks under Alderson though we have to give him a lot of credit for the Cabrera signing.

  7. Metsense
    February 26, 2017 at 6:38 am

    The Cabrera signing was done as an upgrade over the 2015 shortstop combination of Flores and Tejada. The upgrade paid dividends stabilizing the position offensively and defensively. Alderson realized that Flores was not a shortstop and Tejada had too light a bat. Alderson has given the Mets many options going forward because Cabrera has an option year if they want to exercise it. In 2018 he can be the shortstop if Rosario isn’t ready: or the third baseman if Wright can’t make it or Reyes fizzles: or the second baseman if they don’t want to commit to Walker: or unemployed if he tanks in 2017. If Flores learns to hit RHP he would fit into the mix somewhere.If Cecchini and TJ Rivera continue to hit at AAA they also will be in the 2018 or sooner equation. Alderson has done a great job of securing depth in the infield and Cabrera was one of his better signings. Cabrera is a first step veteran and a pleasure to watch, with his slo-mo range and sure hands defensively and solid offensive bat.

  8. MattyMets
    March 1, 2017 at 10:37 am

    We can speculate over when the kids will be ready, when Wright might be forced into retirement, and whether Duda, Walker, Cabrera and Reyes will be back next year. The only sure thing is that the infield is going to look a lot different in 2018.

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