The Mets are going to enter 2018 reliant on their starting pitching’s health once again. While I think resting the fortune of the franchise on the tenuous arms and obliques of Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and Jacob deGrom (all 7 have missed considerable time since 2016 Opening Day) is sub-optimal, one thing the Mets CAN fix is their infield.
Reyes and Cabrera are old and horrid defenders, Walker is regularly injured, and Flores and Rivera are nice stories but really just part-time players. This all goes without mentioning David Wright, the franchise’s hero, who simply cannot suit up anymore.
I think we can all see the writing on the wall for their plans this offseason. Sandy and Co. are going to extend a QO to Jay Bruce, bump Conforto to center, and pick up Cabrera’s option to play third. For a team that is eight games under .500 and underperforming, I’m not all that excited to see this lineup take the field in 2018. It will be enjoyable to see Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith (hopefully) grow in the majors, but this club needs to shake up third and/or second badly. Another season of injuries, horrible defense and general unreliability should not be an option.
Which leads me to a deal that makes sense for the Mets as they head into 2018 looking to shed Cabrera, Reyes, and Walker while finding more suitable part-time roles for Flores and Rivera.
The Mets should go after Yangervis Solarte of the San Diego Padres.
He’s under team control through 2020, he’s a professional bat who can slot in any day at first, second and (most importantly) third. The Padres are looking to get as young as possible and with Solarte recently coming off the DL, this offseason may be the time to get a sweetheart deal for a solid player in Solarte. Would I sell the farm for Solarte? Absolutely not, but I would consider giving up some middle of the system prospects for a guy that would probably start on the infield for the Mets for the next three years.
Solarte has struggled some this year with injuries that has seen his slash line slip to .258/.340/.409 in 74 games. However, he did hit .286/.341/.467 with only 63 strikeouts in 2016 for the Padres. Solarte’s value lies in his high BB % and OBP, low K% rate, and agreeable contract. The simple and overtly “Mets” thing to do this offseason would be to hand the reigns at 3B to Cabrera for one stopgap season. The bold move would be to take a calculated risk on a player with upside in Solarte who could become a three-year affordable mainstay at a position of glaring need.