Terry Collins had talked about moving Asdrubal Cabrera to second base before the veteran infielder came off the disabled list. However, that didn’t stop Cabrera — who had been out since June 13 with a thumb injury — from voicing his displeasure about the reassignment before Friday night’s series opener in San Francisco.
Not only did Cabrera say that he’s not happy about playing second base, but he also told reporters that he’s trying to get traded away from Queens. The Mets might be looking to trade the switch-hitter anyway considering that the club is now “open for business,” but it’s still surprising to hear such a brazen claim from a player who is usually reserved.
Although Cabrera has an affordable club option worth $8.5 million left on his contract, it still might be tough to find a buyer considering how he has played in 2017. His strikeout and walk rates are favorable when compared to last year’s performance that resulted in a 119 wRC+, but this year’s version of Cabrera is hitting for less power with a lower BABIP, which had led to a 94 wRC+ in 202 plate appearances as of Saturday afternoon.
The biggest problem, though, is the decrease in defensive performance that has led to the lineup shift. The usually sure-handed infielder has already made 11 errors this season compared to seven in all of 2016. Cabrera is also getting to fewer balls than before, as his UZR/150 is down from -4.7 in 2016 to -16.9 this year.
It’s unclear if Cabrera is dissatisfied because he thinks he’s still a good shortstop or because he’s being moved in favor of Jose Reyes, who might be an even worse option. Even if the Mets didn’t insist on playing Reyes, Cabrera might have eventually been asked to move to make room for a younger player like Amed Rosario or Gavin Cecchini.
No matter what Cabrera is thinking, he’s not doing himself any favors, since any prospective team will probably look at a lack of defensive flexibility as a reason to look elsewhere.