Mets A Winter Meetings Winner

The Mets left Nashville this afternoon a better team that showed up Sunday night, even if they come home with a contract having Ben Zobrist‘s autograph.

CABRERA: Makes Mets better. (Getty)

CABRERA: Makes Mets better. (Getty)

The Mets not only upgraded up the middle defensively with second baseman Neil Walker (trade from Pittsburgh for Jon Niese) and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (free agent signing from Tampa Bay), and in the process improved their bench and came away with a back-up for David Wright.

And, they did it at a minimal cost, $18.5 million in a two-year contract for Cabrera instead of the estimated $50 million they were going to pay Zobrist. The price of what Walker could make in arbitration and what Niese is to make ($9 million) is a wash.

The Mets were poor defensively with Daniel Murphy and Flores (a combined 26 errors) opposed to a combined 16 from Walker and Cabrera. However, defense is more than just errors, it is also positioning and range. For a team built on pitching, they improved in the field with no loss of production at the plate..

Flores will now fall into the role of right-handed hitting platoon with Walker; back-up shortstop; and fill-in for Wright at third.

The decision to sign Cabrera after tendering Ruben Tejada is not overkill because Flores fractured his ankle in winter ball and Tejada is still recovering from breaking his leg in the playoffs. We don’t know if they’ll be ready when spring training opens Feb. 17 (pitchers and catchers) and Feb. 24 (position players).

Assuming both are ready, they can spell Wright at third. Cabrera can do the same.

So, when you add it up, the Mets improved their up-the-middle defense, bench and found a contingency plan for Wright and will save an estimated $30 million.

I’d call it a win-win, leaving them to find a left-handed hitting platoon with Juan Lagares in center and bolstering the bullpen.

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8 thoughts on “Mets A Winter Meetings Winner

  1. Why not have Lagares full time in center, either he loses the position to a younger players or keeps it. His back to the wall. Sink or swim

    • I think in a perfect world they would have Lagares in center field every day, no matter the pitcher. But I don’t think they’re prepared to let him “sink or swim” in a year where they believe they’re World Series contenders. That would be risky.

  2. Lagares will be better. He was a blossoming bud in 2014, and why the Mets opted to grab the oppty and sign him long term at what they saw was a “reduced” rate at the time.
    He got hurt and did not want out of the lineup, or the Mets did not want his defense out of the lineup (one of the only sure handed defenders they have), and it hurt him all the way around. In the postseason, anytime he was up, he did something positive. He is still young enough to put it all together. Span ? Come on now. Dude is always hurt and he’s a Boras client to boot ! Need to say more ? Didn’t think so. Parra ? Probably will want $10m and he is not going to be a partimer on Wilpon’s watch for $10m. I say roll the dice with Lagares, build his confidence, make sure he is training right and Mets will have a GG caliber CF that will hit .270 10 Hrs and 50 RBI at least, potential to steal maybe 20 bases as well.
    Spend the $$$ on the BP so that I can have my finger nails back from April – Sept !!!

  3. I think Dans range was fine. His issue was the other things in the field.

    We needed to get some serviceable infielders here as our ‘starting’ infield both got hurt and we needed to do something

    Nothing in the minors was ready to step up. Good that for once the team is deciding what they need and what is available and making a decision to get what they need.

    • Not sure what you mean. The team you see is the team they’ll run out there.

      Walker & Cabrera start, with Flores & Tejada behind them and capable of playing multiple positions. Should Wright get hurt, Cabrera or Flores can fill in short-term. And if Duda goes down, you have Cuddyer on the roster. Herrera waits at AAA. Every base is covered, literally. Now sure, we can talk about hypothetical situations where four guys go on the DL, but if that happens then we’re screwed anyway.

      • My point is the team went out and got serviceable middle infielders.

        At the end of the season the only middle infielders we had were two question marks on the injured list.

        Wilmer can’t play ss and is a mediocre hitter with modest power.

        Ruben played well this year but there is no guarantee he will show up next year.

        They needed players to run out there and they got them. Not overly excited about them but they will do.

        Dilson needs to force the team to bring hm up.

  4. Are we sure these guys can actually play 3d base? My hunch is someone other than DW will have to.