Mets Should Investigate Trading Asdrubal Cabrera For Starlin Castro
Considering how the offseason has moved at a glacial pace, the Mets remain uncertain about what they are going to do at both second and third base. Largely, that decision rests on exactly what the Mets elect to do with Asdrubal Cabrera.
Given his injuries and his age, both the Mets and Cabrera know he is no longer suited for shortstop. Even if he were, Amed Rosario is going to be the Mets shortstop for the next decade. That leaves either second or third for Cabrera.
Based upon the numbers last season, Cabrera belongs at third. In 350.1 innings at third last year, Cabrera had a 1 DRS. Conversely, in 274.1 innings at second, Cabrera had a -6 DRS. Based upon this information, this would lead you to believe the Mets should leave him at third, and the team should pursue a second baseman.
The problem there is the top talent remaining on the free agent market are third baseman: Todd Frazier, Mike Moustakas, and Eduardo Nunez. With his history of back injuries and his -5 DRS in 796.2 innings at second last year, former Met Neil Walker also belongs at third base.
Ideally, you don’t want Cabrera to play second, but you don’t want to enter the season with Jose Reyes as the team’s top second base option. Sooner or later push is going to have to come to shove. With that being the case, why not at least investigate a less than desirable option?
After being traded to the Miami Marlins as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, Starlin Castro has voiced his displeasure, and he has requested a trade. Certainly, those calls will only be heightened after the Marlins recently traded away Christian Yelich. While you understand the demand, there does not appear to be a real market for him.
There are a few reasons for that with the main one being Castro has not yet developed into the player many believed he would one day be.
The main issue is he has not proven to be a good second baseman. Over the past two years, he has posted a -6 and a -8 DRS in successive seasons. Typically speaking teams would accept a lesser fielder at a position if they were a good hitter. The jury still remains out on Castro.
For his career, he is a below average hitter with a 97 wRC+ and a 98 OPS+. While these stats are league and park adjusted, people will still likely lament his putting up those stats in hitter’s parks like Wrigley and Yankee Stadium. If you dig deeper, you see Castro profiles similar to Wilmer Flores offensively in that he beats up on left-handed pitching, and he struggles against right-handed pitching.
Considering the Mets already have Flores for much cheaper, it does make you question why you would even consider targeting Castro. The answer to that question could be because it would help the Mets improve their 2018 ballclub at little cost to them.
While Castro has struggled defensively at second, he still promises to be much better than Flores, Reyes, or Cabrera at second. While he has proven to be a platoon bat, so has the Mets internal trio.
However, unlike the Mets trio, Castro was an All Star next year, and unlike Reyes and Cabrera, at 27, he’s entering his prime. And remember, Castro hit .323/.363/.516 in the first half last year. Much of that fall off could be attributed to a leg injury that plagued him throughout the second half of the season.
Point is, there’s reason to believe there is room for improvement for Cabrera. With him only making $2.4 million than Cabrera next season, it is worth investigating a trade that is centered around Cabrera for Castro. Considering the relatively meager returns the Marlins have accepted for their big time outfielders, it may not be as ridiculous as it may seem. That goes double when you consider Castro is due $11.8 million next year with a $1 million buy out if his team does not pick up his $16 million 2020 option.
Overall, for just $2.4 million next year, the Mets could really improve their second base situation, and they could still have room to add a Frazier in free agency. More than that, with his working with Pat Roessler, they may obtain something reasonably close to the 2017 first half Castro. Considering the position the Mets are in at the moment, it is certainly worth a risk.