Before you read any further I would like to issue a disclaimer of sorts. Despite all the buzz around the internet suggesting that Adrian Gonzalez and/or Miguel Cabrera, I don’t believe that either will be traded this off-season.
Furthermore, I would like to go out on a limb and say that even if they were to be traded, I don’t see the Mets on the receiving end of either of the potential deals.
Think about it, either of these moves would essentially go against the two fundamental principles that the Mets seem to be working under lately.
One of which is the fact that a trade for either of these guys would pretty much wipe out the farm system in its entirety. As of late there seems to be a desire in Mets camp to build from within.
Also, regardless of what has been said, management has clearly been acting as if they were in cost cutting mode.
Similarly to what has been stated here on Mets Merized over the past week, ‘actions speak louder than words,’ and the team’s actions have given off the aroma of slashing expenses.
However, given that the past few days have been relatively slow in terms of Hot Stove news, let’s take a closer look at these two superstar first baseman and see which one would be a better fit in Flushing.
Miguel Cabrera -
The Mets are very familiar with Cabrera from his days with the Florida Marlins. Despite being only 26 years of age he has racked up an impressive resume over his six year career in the big leagues.
During his tenure in Miami, Cabrera was elected to the National League All-Star team four times in four consecutive years spanning 2004 to 2007.
When looking at Cabrera’s stats from both Detroit and Florida, the thing that impresses me the most is his consistency. Year in and year out you know what you’re going to get with this guy.
Injuries have never been a large concern for Cabrera, as he has missed no more than five games in the past five seasons.
Obviously, having a player that can stay healthy, like Cabrera would be important in helping the Mets bounce back from a year in which the team was riddled with injuries.
Not only has he stayed consistently healthy following his rookie season in 2003, Cabrera has driven in at least 100 runs in every season since.
It also goes without saying that the first baseman is a legitimate power threat in any lineup. Last season alone he hit 34 home runs and the year prior he hit 37.
However, like anything else you have to take the good with the bad.
Cabrera’s character has been questioned on numerous occasions. The most recent incident in which his character came into question was during the final days of the Detroit Tigers’ playoff run.
In the midst of a pivotal match up to win the division against the Chicago White Sox, Cabrera partied and became intoxicated with members of the opposition. To make matters worse, he got into a physical altercation with his wife, which lead to him being detained in prison for a few hours.
Needless to say, the Tigers were not able to capture the division crown and thus did not make the playoffs. While the blame certainly does not lay solely on Cabrera, his incredibly poor judgment did not help his team.
On top of that he has nearly $130 million left on his contract, which could potentially pose a problem to the Mets, especially if the team is as strapped for cash as they claim to be.
Still though, despite his personal flaws and high salary, it is hard to argue against the fact that Cabrera would bring an enormous amount of power that the Mets were missing in 2009.
Adrian Gonzalez -
Like Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez is another one of the most powerful and most consistent hitters in the game today. Since 2007, he has posted at least 30 home runs per season.
Gonzalez, who is one year Cabrera’s senior, hit six more home runs last season than Cabrera for a total of 40 dingers. The 99 runs batted in by Gonzalez were also comparable to Cabrera’s 103.
Like Cabrera, Gonzalez is a very durable player and rarely misses any playing time. As a matter of fact he did not miss a single game in 2008 and only sat out two in 2009.
Once again, if the Mets are serious about contending next year they are going to need durable players that can produce game in and game out. Clearly, both of these two players fit the bill.
One category in which Gonzalez lags behind is in batting average. Last season he hit .277, which is by no means poor, but it fails in comparison to the .324 average that Cabrera hit.
As a matter of fact, Gonzalez has hit over the .300 mark only once in his career and that was in 2006 when he hit .304.
While he may not hit for as good of average, Gonzalez makes up for it with a great clubhouse demeanor. Unlike some stars in the game today, Gonzalez acts as if he is just one of the twenty five guys on the roster and brings to the table a team-first mentality.
Most importantly, if the Mets truly are tight on finances, it is important to note that next season Gonzalez will make under five million dollars, which is more than four times less than Cabrera’s salary of $20 million.
While I maintain my belief that the Mets will not acquire either of these sluggers due to the lack of room for substantial salary growth and willingness to give up prospects, in my opinion Adrian Gonzalez would be the better fit in New York.
While he may not hit for as good of average, his offensive stats are still very good and last year he showed that despite playing half of his games in Petco Park, a ballpark favorable to pitchers, he could still put up a very impressive home run total.
To me, the thing that seals the deal is not a statistic but rather an intangible characteristic. In the past Miguel Cabrera has shown to me that his attitude is not the best. This dates back to when he was on the Marlins and got into a physical altercation with fellow teammate, Scott Olsen, during a game and has continued to his most recent drunken episode.
While these kinds of things may be able to happen in Detroit and Florida, in New York these incidents would turn into a media circus that would distract the team.
On the other hand Gonzalez has shown himself to be a good player, who leads by example and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to himself.
Who knows maybe Omar will surprise us all with an early Christmas gift by acquiring one of these stars or someone else of comparable talent, but until then I wouldn’t hold my breath.