Everth Cabrera: An Iconoclast’s View

Prediction: Sometime in early January, the Mets will sign shortstop Everth Cabrera to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. This is the kind of move that GM Sandy Alderson and puppet master Jeff Wilpon apparently just love to make.

He won’t cost a top prospect? Check

He will sign a one –year deal? Check

Had at least one good season in the last five? Check

Played for either the Padres, Athletics or Blue Jays? Check

Last February, Jeffy was quoted as saying that hope isn’t a good business strategy. Yet nearly all of the player acquisitions in the Alderson era have been based on hope. We hope Chris Young returns to his 2010 All-Star form. We hope Chris Capuano can stay healthy. We hope Travis d’Arnaud can develop into a solid everyday catcher. We hope Curtis Granderson can hit 40 homeruns again. We hope Collin Cowgill can…well you get it. There has yet to be that big move, the one that fills a gaping hole with a proven player in his prime, the Gary Carter or Mike Hampton type of offseason move which signals that the team is all in. I suspect that the 2014-15 offseason will pass with the Mets (and their fans) once again reduced to spectators during the weeks of blockbuster trades and mega-free agent signing announcements.

Not that a Cabrera signing wouldn’t have a potential upside. He stole 81 bases in 2012-13 and OBP’d .373 in 2013 before taking a 50-game suspension for PEDs the second half of that season. The wheels came off for him last year, both on and off the field. If his 2014 slash line 232/272/300 was due to injury and not the absence of PEDs, then he may be worth the chance.

Ancient history now, but his rookie year (2009) line of 255/342/361, along with 25 stolen bases in just over 100 games, wouldn’t look too bad at the top of the lineup. It is certainly on par with Ruben Tejada’s best season. I have never paid much attention to his fielding, but statistically, he appears to be close to league average at shortstop defensively, likely putting him ahead of Wilmer Flores in that category. There is always the motivation factor: a 20-something player looking at the potential end of his big league career before it really even got started should arrive at his new team with renewed determination to save it. If it turns out that he is little more than a troubled drug abuser, the Mets can quietly cut him loose and start the season with Flores at short and Tejada as the utility man.

Not to brag, but I was on this move way back here. A more recent post looked at some potential right-handed outfielder options. Now, I am wondering when the first “but Eric Campbell out-WAR’d him last year” statements will be appearing on Metsblog when the Mets pass on these guys.

The Mets’ 2014 season showed us the promise of better days, based solely on the performances of a half dozen or so players. The 2014-15 offseason is likely to serve as a reminder of what is still very wrong with this team and the need for career seasons from the majority of the roster to overcome it.

What say you?

A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
  1. Wayne Garrett's Ghost December 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm
    Is it wrong of me to want to give Wilmer Flores a chance? I feel like everything I ever read is searching for ANY solution to shortstop other then Wilmer. I know he has limited range, is unproven and is a better option at second, but after waiting this many years for him to get a regular shot, I want to see him get that chance. I truly believe he could hit 280/365/410 with 15 hr which could be light years ahead of any of the Miller/Didi/Evereth options.
    Unless a Tulo or Castro falls into our lap, I’d rather give Wilmer the chance.
    • argonbunnies December 4, 2014 at 3:37 am
      Wow, where did you come up with that .365 OBP from?!?! That is PURE fantasy. Wilmer has never walked much at any level. .280/.320/.410 would be more in keeping with his track record.

      Personally, it’s hard for me to imagine him hitting .280 in the majors, given the fact that he did most of his damage on hanging breaking balls, was way below league average at hitting fastballs, and chased a ton of pitches. Plus he was always falling toward the plate, off-balance. .280 in his prime? Sure, but that’s years away. .280 in 2015? I don’t see it.

      In the field, I like his hustle and DP turns, and the arm is good enough, but seriously, limited range at shortstop is kind of a big deal. I’d rather have a great defender who can’t hit — he’d help the team overall much more.

      If Flores’ bat really did merit playing time, the move would be to get something good for Murphy.

  2. TexasGusCC December 4, 2014 at 2:10 am
    I also would like to give Flores a chance, but I also want a proven MLB SS on the roster. Cabrera would be a mix between Tejada and EY, while competing with Flores. Competition is not always a bad thing. Cabrera has the skills the Mets need: SS and could lead off. What’s there to think about?

    It wouldn’t bother me a bit if Cabrera had 350-400 PA, Flores around 450-500, Murphy 550, and Wright around 600.

  3. argonbunnies December 4, 2014 at 3:50 am
    I’m with Dan that Cabrera would be uninspiring as an offseason pinnacle, but I would actually be pretty happy if the Mets non-tendered Tejada and picked up Cabrera. Cabrera basically is Tejada — poor hitter, average defensive SS with some pros and some cons — but with more walks and great speed. Plus, he’d probably take less money than Tejada if the Mets threw an MLB deal at him. (I doubt he’d choose the Mets if only a minor league deal were offered.)

    The move makes so much sense that I’m prepared to be disappointed if Alderson does NOT make it.

    As for the character stuff, I’d hope we’re not judging people for owning a little weed and daring to mouth off to the law. The PEDs are troubling, though.

  4. DanS December 5, 2014 at 11:43 am
    Yankees pick up Gregorious in a three-team deal. Does this make it more likely that the Mets will try and sign Cabrera? As a lifelong Mets fan I have to laugh/cry over the way the Mets are constantly beaten to the punch by other teams. If the 21st century equivalent of Frank Cashen is out there, the Mets need to hire him (but first, new ownership—I doubt I’ll live to see that day)!