The Mets announced on Friday that they are picking up the 2018 options for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and left-handed relief pitcher Jerry Blevins. That means that each player is on a one-year contract for next year, with Cabrera making $8.5 million and Blevins making $7 million.
If the Mets had decided not to bring the veterans back, they would have bought out Cabrera for $2 million and Blevins for $1 million. Both players should continue to be valuable assets in 2018 based on their history with New York.
Cabrera in particular was a pleasant surprise last season, as it seemed unlikely that he could surpass his career-high 119 wRC+ from the year before. While he fell short of that mark, he came pretty close while posting a higher on-base percentage and contact rate than the year before. It might have been his best offensive campaign ever if he topped 20 home runs again, but Mets fans should be happy with the 14 he hit based on the improvement he made to his overall approach.
Defense and baserunning will continue to be concerns for Cabrera, but at least he proved that he was versatile enough to move to third base to make room for Amed Rosario late in the season. At one point, Cabrera appeared stubborn about changing positions and suggested to the media that the Mets should trade him.
Blevins has been a bit too important to the New York bullpen over the past two seasons, as he’s pitched in nearly half the club’s games while keeping his ERA below three. Although he was able to get right-handed hitters out at a decent clip in 2016, he struggled against his platoon weakness last year, with all four of his home runs and 18 of his 24 walks coming against right-handed sluggers.
It will be interesting to see how new manager Mickey Callaway handles Blevins, because Terry Collins was fond of using his lefty as often as possible and in any situation he could imagine.
The signing of two affordable veteran contracts doesn’t signal to us what the Mets might be capable of spending this offseason, but fans should be glad that two dependable role players are back in the fold.