Mets’ winter forecast: Big-time options at shortstop
We continue our examination of the state of the Mets’ roster by examining the shortstops.
ON THE 40 Asdrubal Cabrera (.280, 23 HR, 62 RBI) Matt Reynolds (.225, 3 HR, 13 RBI) Gavin Cecchini (.333, 0 HR, 2 RBI)
PENDING FREE AGENT Jose Reyes (..267, 8 HR, 24 RBI)—Team option
ON THE FARM (per MLB.com) Amed Rosario (Class AA) Luis Carpio (Class A) Milton Ramos (Class A) Andres Gimenez (Dominican Summer League) Luis Guillorme (Class A) Gregory Guerrero (Dominican Summer League)
WHERE THEY STAND The Mets are in a pretty enviable position when it comes to their shortstop depth as not only are they set for 2017, but also for the future thanks to one of the game’s top prospects.
Cabrera just completed his first season of the two-year deal he signed with the Mets, and his signing proved to be a shrewd move by general manager Sandy Alderson. Cabrera instantly upgraded the team’s defense and showed that talk of his decline at the position were not true, and produced the best OPS of his career while settling into the second spot in the order.
The veteran hit .345 with a 1.041 OPS in his final 41 games of the season, and had one of the biggest hits of the season when he smashed a three-run walk-off homer on Sept. 22.
When Cabrera needs a day off, which the Mets need to be more judicious about next season, the team has several capable options who can fill in.
While Reyes did not play much shortstop last year, it’s still his natural position, and he figures to receive some playing time there next year. It’s all but certain the team will exercise the option in his contract for next season after Reyes had a fantastic season in his return to the organization.
Reyes, who signed with the Mets after being released by the Rockies following his suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy, galvanized the lineup by giving the team the leadoff hitter it needed, and filled in quite well for David Wright at third base.
The infielder is likely to serve as either the starting second baseman or a possible super-utility player, depending on whether the team brings back Neil Walker. Reyes also would be the first choice to fill in for Wright if his long-time teammate is injured or needs days off.
Cecchini did not play much this past year, but has hit well in the minors and the team will want to give the 2012 first-round pick more opportunities this upcoming season. He too could be an option to receive playing time at second base if the Mets do not bring back Walker.
Reynolds is a fine bench piece who can play multiple positions.
Among the minor-league options, Rosario is the crown jewel of the Mets’ system, and the No. 11 prospect in the game, according to MLB.com.
Rosario posted an .800 OPS with Class A St. Lucie before notching an .874 OPS after being promoted to Class AA Binghamton. The soon-to-be 21-year-old doesn’t hit many homers but makes up for it with doubles and triples, and is seen as the team’s future shortsop.
The Mets are in a good spot being flushed with so many shortstop prospects as it gives them options down the road for possible trade talks.
OUTLOOK This is one of the easier positions to project with Cabrera all but locked in as the starter and Reyes set to return, and Rosario on the horizon. The biggest question may be whether Rosario makes his MLB debut in 2017 or if it’s the following year when he can take over for Cabrera.
The Mets hold an $8.5 million option with $2 million buyout on Cabrera for that year.