The New York Mets roster has been ravaged by injuries this season, but no position has taken more of a hit as third base. As a result, there have been a ton of Mets trade rumors floating around about the position.
Opening Day starter J.D. Davis has missed the majority of the season, and while a return may be coming up somewhat soon, it’s still unclear when it will be.
Luis Guillorme, who was penciled in as the backup, also missed a significant bulk of time. Jonathan Villar, who was supposed to be the Mets utility infielder and maybe even play a bit of outfield, ended up as the full-time starter for most of the season until he too got sent to the IL.
While Guillorme and Villar are now back, it’s never a bad idea to add some Major League caliber bats, especially with Mets players going down left and right all season. Josh Donaldson was one name brought up a few days ago, but now, a new name joins the Mets trade rumors mill.
Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Mets are looking into old friend Asdrubal Cabrera as a possible solution to their problems.
Cabrera is the latest and certainly not the last name to be brought up in Mets trade rumors as the July 31 deadline looms closer and closer.
Cabrera spent about two and a half seasons with the Mets, signing in the offseason before 2016 and being a legitimate contributor before the Mets traded him to the Phillies ahead of the 2018 deadline.
His tenure with the Mets was statistically the best of his career with any one team, hitting .279/.339./.464, good for an OPS of .803 and OPS+ of 117 over 1,515 plate appearances. He hit 55 home runs, drove in 179 runs and was responsible for one glorious bat flip that etched him into Mets lore.
He signed with the Rangers in 2019 but only played in 93 games before he was cut. He then latched on with the Nationals for the remainder of the season and crushed the ball over 38 games, ultimately getting him a ring. Washington kept him around for the shortened 2020 season, and this offseason he signed with the Diamondbacks.
Over 59 games for Arizona heading into Sunday, Cabrera is hitting .251/.348/.402, adding up to an OPS of .750 and OPS+ of 106 — so he’s been a slightly above-average hitter. The biggest revelation for him this season is that he’s walking a lot more than he normally does. While his batting average is a bit below his career average, his on-base percentage is actually a bit above it.
At this stage in his career he’s mostly playing the corner infield spots, primarily third, but he’s capable of going up the middle if needed. At age-35 though he’s still doing it effectively, ranking in the 79th percentile in outs above average per Baseball Savant.
As far as Mets trade rumors go, is this one a realistic possibility?
As of right now, probably not. Even with Davis still out, the Mets currently have three players capable of manning the hot corner in Guillorme, Villar and Jose Peraza. If the Mets were to acquire Cabrera he would likely sit behind Guillorme and Villar on the depth chart, and while he might technically be an upgrade over Peraza, I don’t think the Mets are too keen to lose him.
Even though Peraza’s numbers aren’t great, hitting just .205 with a .647 OPS and 81 OPS+, he’s been oddly clutch. In 28 plate appearances with runners in scoring position entering Sunday, Peraza is hitting .261/.393/.478 with one homer and nine RBIs. Those numbers even increase ever so slightly when you expand it to just runners on base, where he’s hitting .277/.370/.511 over 54 plate appearances.
Per Baseball-Reference, Peraza is hitting a ridiculous .375/.444/.875 in 18 high leverage plate appearances this season.
All of those numbers don’t even include his ground-rule double to drive in two and give the Mets the lead in Game 1 of the doubleheader with the Yankees on Sunday.
If the Mets were to trade for Cabrera, Peraza would likely be the roster casualty. For a Mets team that was second only to the Pirates in fewest runs per game entering Sunday, losing one of the few guys who has gotten it done with runners on would be a tough sell.
If the Mets don’t suffer any more injuries to their infielders, they will already have a tough decision to make when Davis comes back. Cabrera is solid, but not good enough to displace anyone currently on the roster.
The only way a reunion between the Mets and Cabrera happens will likely be if one of Villar, Guillorme or Peraza suffers an injury before the deadline that will keep them out for a significant period of time.
The good thing for the Mets though if they need to pull that trigger is that Cabrera is 35 years old, a free agent at the end of the season and he’s on possibly the worst team in baseball. It likely won’t take more than cash considerations or a PTBNL in order to acquire him.
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Cabrera is a good option to keep on the back burner, but as of right now, the latest Mets trade rumors installment probably doesn’t make too much sense.