Player Profile: Asdrubal Cabrera will be likely be the starting shortstop on opening day for the New York Mets. The 30-year-old was signed as an amateur free agent back in 2002 by the Mariners and made his major league debut in 2007 with the Cleveland Indians. Along with the Indians, Cabrera has played with the Nationals, and most recently, the Rays last season before being picked up by the Mets. Cabrera played in 143 games with the Rays last year hitting .265/.315/.430 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs. The veteran will enter his tenth year in the MLB in 2016.
2015 highlights: Taking the spot of Yunel Escobar at shortstop for the Rays, Cabrera was asked to produce as the veteran that he is for a team that needed to score in the always competitive, AL East. Hitting out of the three hole, the Venezuelan boasted a .265 batting average, 40 points higher than his 2014 campaign with the Nationals. Cabrera, who is known for his fielding abilities, lived up to his reputation committing only nine errors on 284 attempts for a .980 fielding percentage. He was, however, strikeout prone in 2015, as he has been for a couple of seasons now. He struck out 107 times breaking the one hundred mark in the category for the fourth season straight. Overall, Cabrera proved that he can still be an everyday starter, and the Rays desperately needed that durability in a position they needed to fill.
Contract Situation: Cabrera signed a two-year, $18.5 million contract with the Mets this offseason. The team has a club option for 2018. If bought out, the Mets would shell out $2 million for Cabrera while also making his 2018 salary $8.5 million, $250,000 higher than the original deal.
Tradeable/Untradeable: Cabrera will act as the everyday shortstop for the Mets, a position that has had tons of questions these past few seasons with Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada. Cabrera has proved he can contribute while playing over 130 games a season. So, Cabrera should be deemed untradeable as of this year based on what the Mets need right now.
2016 Outlook: Mets fans know that the shortstop position has been in question with Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores swapping the role constantly. The key factor was that neither could hit on a consistent basis. Cabrera, then, plays a versatile aspect or Terry Collin’s lineup has he can hit for average while also producing long balls and extra base hits. With an on-base percentage over .300 every season since 2007, he can get on base, where Flores and Tejada couldn’t guarantee. The biggest advantage of Cabrera, however, is his veteran presence in a position that exudes leadership and poise, and for the Mets, has been trusted to young talent that has yet to prove themselves worthy. So, for his 2016 campaign, look for Cabrera to hit around the .250s like he has been and to provide stability to a middle infield that needs a solid player.