Mets Considered Swapping Reyes and Cabrera Defensively

Sources told Mike Puma of the New York Post, that the Mets have at least discussed restructuring the left side of their infield.

However, at this point the plan of swapping Jose Reyes to shortstop and Asdrubal Cabrera to third base has gained little traction.

Cabrera, who is battling knee soreness that has limited his range, is against the idea of moving from shortstop to third base and club officials are hesitant to force the issue on a veteran player.

Only a month into the season, both veterans have already had fielding issues at their respective positions.

Cabrera is battling knee soreness which has limited his range immensely (which was already subpar), and he has committed three errors. And Reyes has had his own issues at third, as he as well has already committed three errors.

Reyes, who is still developing to third base, would be the benefited from this switch. He took over as the starting third baseman after being signed on a minor league deal during the second half of last season.

Reyes told Puma, “Some ground balls, I am not going to say I get confused, but it’s different over there. I get caught in between deciding wether to charge or wait back on the ball. But I am getting used to the position.”

Thus far, the move hasn’t gone anywhere because the Mets are hesitant to force the veteran Cabrera to move.

However, if Cabrera is hoping to stay with his club option in 2018, he better be willing to play a different infield position as top prospect shortstop Amed Rosario is waiting in the wings.

Thoughts from Joe D.

There’s a few critical issues at play here and not just the obvious. The first of course is that shifting Reyes to his natural shortstop position and Cabrera to third could immediately improve the infield defense. Not a bad thing to do when your team is built on pitching and all spring training long we learned how our young arms were going to take a page out of Bartolo Colon‘s playbook and not be afraid to throw strikes and pitch more to contact.

Reyes gave it a valiant try at third base but clearly his instincts left much to be desired and his throws to first base were somewhat erratic. Meanwhile Cabrera’s range at shortstop continues to worsen especially to his right. Cabrera’s range becomes much less of an issue at third base while Reyes would feel at home at short.

Nevertheless it’s a moot point if Cabrera is unwilling to make the move which brings us to another issue.  If Cabrera is unwilling to play third base it makes me wonder if picking up his $8.5 million option for next season is such a slam dunk.

All along the prevailing theory was that top prospect Amed Rosario would lay claim to shortstop next season and that Cabrera would simply slide over to third base. If his concern is two balky knees than second base would be an even worse option for him than third base. Dare I say it would be Murphy 2.0 or even worse. So to invest that kind of money in Cabrera to essentially back up shortstop and be a bat off the bench doesn’t sound like the most effective way to allocate the team’s resources.

Reyes on the other hand, seems more than willing to play wherever the Mets need him. During spring training the plan was for Reyes to fill the role of a super utility player with him backing up at second base, third base, shortstop and even getting reps in the outfield. I would bet it would take a lot less than $8.5 million to secure his services for another year and that Reyes would prove to be much more valuable than Cabrera in a super utility role.

Of course that’s essentially a conversation for another day and right now the Mets must navigate through the 2017 season which could in fact see Amed Rosario making his MLB debut a lot sooner than September 1. In fact, there’s a very good chance that Rosario could force his way into the lineup as soon as next month if he continues to dominate at Triple-A the way he has.

Rosario would instantly boost the Mets defensively at shortstop while providing the team with a solid bat whose game features excellent on-base skills – something the lineup could desperately use right now. Ironically, such a move would likely shift Cabrera and not Reyes  into a bench role unless he acquiesces and decides to play third base after all.

It’s something the team will have to work out in the relatively near future, because I believe the sooner the Mets can install Rosario at shortstop the better their chances for a third consecutive postseason appearance becomes.

About John Flanigan 150 Articles
I'm from Breezy Point, NY and attend Sacred Heart University in CT where I study Communications/Sports Media. My goal is to pursue a career in sports journalism. I'm a lifelong Mets fan and I look forward to contributing at MMO. Hope you guys enjoy my work. Follow me on Twitter @jflan816