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?