When Ben Zobrist signed with the Cubs instead of the Mets on Tuesday evening, it was a disappointing moment for fans of the New York franchise, who were poised to see their team make its first big move towards reclaiming the National League pennant in 2016. Instead, Zobrist joined one of the clubs that is supposed to get in the Mets' way. Talk immediately turned to whether or not the the 21-year-old Dilson Herrera could hold down the second base job in 2016, but that didn't last long.
Just a day after missing out on Zobrist, the New York front office made not one, but two moves to acquire veterans for the middle infield. First, it traded left-handed pitcher Jon Niese for Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker. Then, it signed Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year deal worth $18.5 million. Most of us at Amazin' Avenue are thrilled with the moves that prop up one of the weakest areas of the team, but how did the rest of the media react?
- Bob Klapisch loves the two moves since the Mets now have a pair of versatile infielders who can both hit for power and play third base in case David Wright is hampered by injuries again.
- John Harper thinks the Mets should have used the money they saved by not signing Zobrist to make a bigger splash than the Cabrera deal. On the other hand, the move provides some much-needed depth and the Mets still have the resources they need to pursue bullpen help and a left-handed center fielder.
- August Fagerstrom at FanGraphs says that trading for Walker wasn't just a backup plan in case Zobrist didn't work out. The Pittsburgh second baseman has a chance to be just as good as Zobrist in 2016. Plus, the Mets just bought more time for Herrera to develop while at the same time avoiding a four-year commitment.
- Ken Davidoff is still calling Walker and Cabrera "Plan B." Walker has trouble hitting lefties even though he's a switch hitter and Cabrera isn't the most athletic shortstop out there. Plus, you can forget about the Mets spending on Denard Span or Gerardo Parra, because the team's payroll is now very close to what it was at the end of the 2015 campaign.
- Grant Brisbee hopes that the competency of the Mets' current lineup won't lull the front office into a false sense of security. Even with an awesome rotation and a decent batting order, New York must make a move for an outfielder before the offseason is done.
- Keith Law thinks the Mets came out ahead in the Walker trade, but he doesn't feel Cabrera can still play shortstop well and wonders if New York is hindering the development of Herrera.
To sum things up, no one is missing Jon Niese too much, although that may turn into an issue depending on the health of the starting rotation, the pending return of Bartolo Colon, and the development of Rafael Montero. Walker appears to be a solid replacement if not an improvement over Daniel Murphy. The major disagreement is regarding Cabrera and his ability to be New York's starting shortstop in 2016. Even if he can't, he'll at least provide solid depth the way Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson did during the 2015 pennant chase.