It’s usually a good thing for an MLB team to have an infield utility player, one who can handle shortstop, second and third base as needed, and to provide some offense as well. But does a team really need two of these players?
The Mets have two such infielders on their roster, namely Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera. Both are natural shortstops who can also play second or third base. Both are switch-hitters who have seen their offensive production drop off this year, and both are on the wrong side of 30.
The Mets infield seems set for next year at first base with Dominic Smith and shortstop with the acrobatic Amed Rosario. It is possible, maybe even probable, that the Mets will either sign an everyday second or third baseman in the off-season, maybe even one of each.
Even with Rosario being a lock for the everyday shortstop, he will need someone to back him up, as none of the other infielders, specifically Wilmer Flores and T. J. Rivera, are shortstop material. There could be a role for a utility type player who can back up Rosario and fill in at third or second as needed.
As noted, both players are a bit long in the tooth, but Reyes is more so, he turns 35 next season while Cabrera will be 32. At the plate, Cabrera in 356 AB this year has a slash line of .261/.329/.393. Hardly great, but better than Reyes, who in 381 AB has a .223/.286/.35 slash line as of this writing. Both players have expressed a preference for playing shortstop, but with Rosario in the bigs neither one will be a starter with the Mets.
If the Mets go the cheapest route, Reyes would be their man. He is still owed four million from the Rockies for next year, so the Mets would probably just have to kick in the league minimum as they have the past two seasons. The Mets have an option for Cabrera for next year for 8.5 million, but if they choose to let him go it will cost them two million in a buy out clause.
It seems to me the Mets would do well to spend the extra bucks and keep Cabrera for another season. Reye’s batting stats dropped sharply this year, and at a year older they could drop off a cliff next year. Jose Reyes appears to be redundant at this point.