Going into the 2018 season, Asdrúbal Cabrera is slated to be the the starting second baseman and perhaps a third-string option at shortstop for the New York Mets. Cabrera, a native of Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, is set to earn $8.5 million this year, the last of his current contract, and he’ll be eligible for free agency after the season.
Over the offseason, the Mets’ front office was engaged in trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates regarding Josh Harrison and the Cleveland Indians regarding Jason Kipnis, but the team ultimately didn’t acquire a second baseman. By signing Todd Frazier to play third base, that left the starting job at second base to Cabrera.
Last year, Cabrera didn’t hit for as much power as he had in 2016. That year, Cabrera hit 23 home runs and had a .474 slugging percentage. Last year, he finished the season with 14 home runs and a .434 SLG. On the upside, his .351 OBP and 15.4% strikeout rate were improvements upon his 2016 numbers.
The PECOTA and Steamer projections for Cabrera aren’t great. Steamer projects a .260/.324/.426 line with 15 home runs and a 100 wRC+. PECOTA has him at .253/.314/.408, also with 15 home runs.
If Cabrera doesn’t have a strong first half, the Mets could look to either acquire a new second baseman or give some of their in-house options—Wilmer Flores, Jose Reyes, or maybe T.J. Rivera once he returns from Tommy John surgery—a shot at the position on a regular basis.