The Mets picked up the one-year, $8.5 million option on Asdrubal Cabrera's contract instead of buying him out for $2 million, the team announced Friday.
"Asdrúbal can help us all around the infield," Mets GM Sandy Alderson said in a press release. "The season didn't end the way we wanted but that didn't stop him from playing hard right to the very last out of the season. Asdrúbal is a great tutor to our younger players and a leader in the clubhouse. We're happy to have him back."
Cabrera wanted the Mets to bring him back, his agent recently told Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert.
"This is where I wanted to be," Cabrera said. "I experienced the post-season with the Mets in 2016 and that's where I want to get back to this year. I'm open to playing anywhere. I just want to help."
Cabrera spent multiple stints on the disabled list in 2017 dealing with a ligament injury in his right thumb. It never fully healed during the season, Cabrera's agent told Ackert, but he plans to spend most of his offseason getting himself 100 percent healthy for 2018.
"I want to come back here because I feel this team is going to be in the playoffs again really soon," Cabrera told reporters in late September, according to Newsday. "We've got talent."
Cabrera hit .280/.351/.434 with 14 HR and 32 doubles in 135 games in 2017.
Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About Me): The word around Citi Field toward the end of the season was that Cabrera would almost certainly be back. Instead of immediately picking up his option, though, they always planned to wait until the last minute in case Cabrera injured himself or a trade opportunity presented itself, etc...
Basically, for what amounts to an additional $6.5 million, the Mets can lock in Cabrera and operate this offseason knowing -- at the very least -- they'll enter spring training with a 31-year-old veteran, who can play shortstop, second and third base, hit .280 with roughly 40 extra base hits and 1-2 WAR.
Put another way, Cabrera's 2017 was worth $10.1 million, according to FanGraphs.com. He was worth $23 million the previous season.
Sept. 2016: Reyes and Cabrera celebrate scoring a run at Citi Field. Credit: Brad Penner-USA Today
If he can repeat his 2016, he's obviously a huge bargain. If he can repeat his 2017, he's still a bargain. More importantly, if the Mets aren't adding $6.5 to next year's payroll for Cabrera, what are they paying someone else (and for how long) to fill the same role.
They're going to need someone like Cabrera, be it for depth, hot stove leverage or to be a starter at second or third base. I'm sure there will be slightly similar players on the free agent market wanting slightly more money and years. In Cabrera, though, the Mets save money that can be used to improve another need, plus they get a productive and versatile player who they know, who wants to be here, who can handle New York and who already has a relationship with the team's current players, reporters and fans.