What Now, Brown Cow? (Shortstop)

What Now, Brown Cow? (Shortstop)

Mets

What Now, Brown Cow? (Shortstop)

By

With the off season fast approaching, it’s time for Sandy Alderson to get to work. We’ll be moving around the diamond to see what challenges the Mets face for 2017, and see what we could do to help fix them, or perhaps mess them up even more. Look, we don’t get paid for this, so Sandy should listen to us at his own risk.

Shortstop

The Mets rolled multiple sevens at shortstop last year. 2015 featured Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada, and Kelly Johnson for a game. And that’s it. Short was thought to be a wasteland. So the Mets sign Asdrubal Cabrera and I wasn’t sure that he was going to be that much of an upgrade from Wilmer Flores for the extra money they were spending on him. Remember, there were many people who wrote Cabrera’s shortstop abilities off. Instead, he made play after play, and his UZR improved to -4.7. I know that sounds ridiculous to say he improved and he’s still at negative numbers there. But at least his defense at short was adequate enough for his bat to make up for. (And it tells you how bad his numbers were before last season.) And his bat more than made up for it. He was a good hitter early in the season who run into some bad luck with runners in scoring position. But once he came back from injury he was one of the Mets best hitters, and he finished the season at .280 with career highs in slugging and OPS. You could make a case that besides Yoenis Cespedes, Cabrera may have been the Mets’ most valuable player.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 05: Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets fields a ball hit by Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning during their National League Wild Card game at Citi Field on October 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 05: Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets fields a ball hit by Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning during their National League Wild Card game at Citi Field on October 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Cabrera has one more season left at $8.5 million, which is the perfect bridge to Amed Rosario, who tore up Binghamton last season with a .341 average. Although he had a .433 average on batted balls in play (BABIP for you hipsters), and I’m told that signifies extreme luck. Nevertheless, it seems that he will be ready sooner rather than later. If Rosario accidentally murders the leprechaun he’s living with, there’s always Gavin Cecchini, who hit some balls hard when he came up for a cup of joe last season. But he might be next in line to move to second base to give the Mets a complete homegrown middle infield at some point.

The only question becomes whether Cabrera will stay healthy for 162 in 2017. The answer is probably “no” due to the mere presence of Ray Ramirez. But even beyond that, Cabrera played the majority of the season on a bum knee while fouling multiple pitches off his body to make life even harder on himself. The good news is that Rosario or Cecchini wouldn’t need to be rushed as Jose Reyes could slide over and play the position from his younger days (2015) if Ramirez accidentally stabs Cabrera while trying to core an apple with a Swiss army knife.

Pipe Dreams

At this point, I’d consider Cabrera staying healthy and matching his 2016 numbers a pipe dream. It’s okay because all he needs to do is keep the seat warm for Rosario. But if Cabrera can do it, it would make life a lot easier for a team that will be looking to upgrade offense at a few positions and give them a little more room for error. The other pipe dream would be, if Cabrera does falter, to give Rosario a shot right then and there … even if he is tearing up Binghamton or Las Vegas or Mercury. But at least with Reyes and Cecchini, shortstop is a position with no shortage of decent options, unlike at other places on the diamond.

On Monday we’ll throw home, and hopefully Travis d’Arnaud catches it as we look at what the Mets need to do behind the dish.

More Sports

More Mets