Mets Could Pursue Melky Cabrera and Miguel Olivo

By Matt Musico

Joel Sherman of the New York Post has had quite a busy weekend when it comes to creating news about the Mets. Yesterday, we talked about the article he published where he speculated 8 years and $143 million would suffice to keep David Wright a Met for life. Yesterday, he was at it again, and MLB Trade Rumors gave us a simple rundown of the latest rumors he reported.

First, Sherman touched upon the possibility of current Giants outfielder, Melky Cabrera, signing with New York. In talking with a “group of baseball executives,” the two teams that came up regularly on potential landing spots for the embattled corner outfielder included the Amazins and their division rival, the Phillies. He noted that with the current outfield situation in Flushing, Cabrera could be worth pursuing (if he’s affordable) as a backup plan for both Jason Bay and Lucas Duda, especially if Scott Hairstonsigns a deal elsewhere.

August 5, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Giants won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Through 113 games and 459 at-bats in 2012, Cabrera was having a career year and was leading the National League batting race with a .346/.390/.516 line, including 11 homers, 60 RBI, and 84 runs scored before being suspended for 50 games for PEDs. After signing a one-year/$6 million contract with San Francisco for this season, he was looking to cash in, but will likely be in the market for a similar deal he signed last winter, if not for less money because of his suspension. A handful of executives feel Cabrera could still earn a contract within the $8-$12 million range, but most are thinking he’ll command something between $2-$5 million, as he should after getting caught cheating, and then trying to find a way to cover it up.

Cabrera does fit into what the Mets need in the corner outfield and he could come at a supreme discount, which would play into Sandy Alderson’s favor, but I for one do NOT want a player like Melky in the clubhouse in 2013. When trying to rebuild like the Mets are currently doing, the front office needs to bring in high character players to help instill a winning culture. Whether what Melky did was a one time thing or not, it’s enough to tarnish his image and would be a focus in a big market like New York. That’s not someone I want to have around a lot of young players trying to find their way in the Bigs.

Shifting gears to the catcher’s position, Sherman also reported he’s received indications the Mets are unlikely to retain Kelly Shoppach (.233/.309/.425 with BOS and NYM in ’12). Needless to say, if New York is unable to retain him, Alderson will continue to monitor the status of newly available Miguel Olivo. Back in the summer, Olivo was second on the Mets’ wish list for right-handed catchers before the trade deadline, behind Ramon Hernandez. Despite having a dreadful season with the Mariners (.222/.239/.381), Sherman does make some valid points to justify why he should be an option for New York.

His .239 on-base% was the worst since Corey Patterson posted a .238 mark in 2008, but he has hit 31 homers over the last two seasons, while playing half of his games in Safeco Field, a notorious pitcher-friendly park. The one aspect of New York’s game Alderson wants to improve is their (lack of) power, and Olivo can certainly do that. He’s reached double-digit long balls every season since 2006, and only Brian McCann and Mike Napoli have hit more than him during that time span. So, Olivo could give the Mets more of a power threat from the right side, and would definitely be a defensive upgrade behind the plate to Shoppach (31% CS in ’12). He’s also had significant time as a starter throughout his career, and has had more success against southpaws than righties in the Bigs. So, this could be a better fit than it looks on the surface.

Do you want either one of these players to don the Orange and Blue in 2013?