Mets may not give Familia and Cabrera permission to play winter ball

By JT. Teran

The Mets haven’t decided if they’ll allow Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera to play in any winter league.

With the upcoming World Baseball Classic starting up in the spring of 2017, players that plan on participating will likely want to get any kinks and rust out of the way before the tournament starts. While the WBC takes place during spring training, it’s a very competitive tournament, and everyone that participates in it wants to be at the top of their game. Mets players are no exception.

Two Mets players that are looking to get some work in before the World Baseball Classic starts are closer Jeurys Familia, and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. As we already know, Cabrera has declared his intention to play for his home country of Venezuela. Familia, on the other hand, has made it public knowledge that he intends to play for the Dominican Republic in the Classic as well.

In preparation for the tourney, Cabrera has made his way down to Caracas, Venezuela in hopes of joining the Leones del Caracas for the tail-end of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

According to a new report from Newsday’s Marc Carig, Jeurys Familia plans on playing winter ball ahead of next year’s competition. Carig points out that according to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, the Mets may not give permission to either to play during the winter.

Sandy is quoted as saying, “In terms of playing winter ball to get prepared for the WBC, that’s something that right now we have not permitted either one. And we may or may not.”

Alderson adds that while the Mets are supportive of the World Baseball Classic, the team will have analyze where each player is at before deciding. “We’re generally supportive of the WBC. I don’t want to give a sense that we’re not supportive of the competition. But every case is a little bit different.”

While the argument is whether or not Familia and Cabrera can play winter ball, the suggestion is that if neither play before the WBC, they wouldn’t be fit enough to participate in such a heavy competition.

This holds specially true for pitchers who need to be able to strengthen their arms before pitching in high-stress situations.

Next: Mets Season in Review: Jeurys Familia

With the example of Juan Lagares, who recently experienced a sprained shoulder playing winter baseball, it’s obvious the Mets are trying to err on the side of caution. Cabrera dealt with knee issues for a great part of the past season. Familia, on his part, pitched in 78 games in 2016 so his workload was extensive.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Mets decide. Next season could be heavily influenced if either of these pillars of the Mets lineup go down for a prolonged period of time.