Mets Were Right To Move Cabrera to Second Base
For starters, lets concede that Jose Reyes has been playing so poorly he should unseat no one for a starting position unless he was going to play for the Long Island Ducks. In turn, it also needs to be conceded Asdrubal Cabrera is no longer a major league caliber shortstop. In his interview on the topic, Cabrera admitted as much saying, “I think next year, I have to go – I have to move to another position . . . I’m fine with that.”
Cabrera needs to be fine with that as he’s not a shortstop now. His -10 DRS is the worst among shortstops with at least 100 innings played at the position. His -5.5 UZR is the second worst in the majors among players with 100 innings played at short. But it’s more than the advanced metrics. Visually, you can see he no longer has the range. His sure hands aren’t so sure anymore. His 11 errors are the third most in the majors and are four more than he had all of last year. The final indignity for him came when he had his Luis Castillo impersonation.
It was time to move Cabrera to second base. With the team having an eye towards the 2018 season, it was time to see if the team should pick up his 2018 option in the offseason to play him alongside Amed Rosario. With the team looking to sell, it was also a chance to improve his trade value.
Now, this isn’t the first time the Mets have asked Cabrera to change positions. Earlier in the year, they asked him to move to third base. He wasn’t amendable going so far as to demand the team pick up his 2018 option if they planned such a move. Rather than promote discord throughout the clubhouse, Terry Collins dropped it. The team had to know moving him to second base was going to create issues.
And it did. Cabrera demanded a trade from the team. Sure, part of it could be the Mets didn’t give him the courtesy of speaking with him first, or the team not giving him the opportunity to play some games at second base during his rehab stint in the minor leagues. Still, even with the Mets mishandling the situation, given how Cabrera responded to moving to third base, this incident was going to happen anyway.
It is better for that incident to have occurred with Reyes supplanting him than Rosario. It is hard enough for a rookie to get acclimated to playing in the major leagues. It is even more difficult with a disenchanted veteran angry you took his job. This is the same veteran you would want to mentor a young Rosario to help ease his transition. Seeing Cabrera’s actions, this was not going to happen if Rosario was the one who replaced him.
That is why having Reyes take over at shortstop made sense. Reyes is a veteran better capable of handling the situation, especially when he previously faced the same situation when the Mets signed Kaz Matsui. Let Reyes deal with the fallout now so all issues are resolved by the time Rosario is called up to the majors.
Overall, while we can quibble with how the Mets handled moving Cabrera to second base, we can all agree they made the right decision. They got to find out more about Cabrera both in terms of his ability as a second baseman and how he handles a change in his roles. More importantly, they made Rosario’s transition to the major leagues that much easier.