Mets have Cubs and Yankees to thank for their new middle infield

Posted: December 14, 2015 in Hot Stove, News, Opinion, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

By Steven Inman


Courtesy Post-Gazette

As you may have heard, the Mets front office came home from Nashville with a brand new middle infield with the additions of Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. While the trade for Walker and signing of Cabrera came together rather quickly, it doesn’t appear that bringing the pair to New York was the Mets Plan A.  For whatever reason the Mets, along with the rest of baseball seemed to covet Ben Zobrist during the Winter Meetings so much that New York offered him a 4-year deal worth a reported $60 Million. The 34-year old Zobrist may have taken that deal with the Amazins if it wasn’t for a trade that went down between the Cubs and the Yankees.

The Cubs liked Zobrist but didn’t have a spot for him to play in their infield or outfield. Theo Epstein and company at Wrigley Field were able to move Starlin Castro and the $38 Million guaranteed left on his contract to the Yankees. Without that move Zobrist likely wouldn’t have been able to find 500 at-bats with the Cubs and would have looked to his other suitors the Mets and the Nationals. The Mets rolled out the red carpet for Zobrist, even showing him places in Connecticut and Westchester where he could raise his family.

Ben Zobrist is a nice player. He is versatile and known as a good clubhouse guy. Perhaps most importantly in this area of the country Zobrist is remembered for killing the Mets in the World Series, With that said, giving Ben Zobrist a contract in the vicinity of what Zobrist got with the Cubs (4 years, $56M) would have been a disaster for the New York Mets.

For starters Ben Zobrist will be 35-years old next season and missed a chunk of last season after a serious knee injury. Defensively he’s not what he used to be so that versatility, while still valuable isn’t as important as it used to be. The Mets also have a pair of older players in David Wright and Curtis Granderson on the payroll at pretty hefty salaries for the next few seasons. Adding Zobrist to that duo would mean having half your payroll tied up in three players in their mid-30’s for the next few seasons. Lastly if the Mets signed Zobrist he likely would have played second base which would have meant possibly another season of Wilmer Flores at shortstop. The Mets must get better defensively if they want another crack at the World Series.

It didn’t make much sense that the Mets would want Ben Zobrist on a 4-year deal. He’s not the difference making bat that transformed their lineup last July. After seeing what the Mets Plan B was, it is even more of a head scratching thought how much they wanted Zobrist. The Mets have the Cubs for stealing Zobrist away and the Yankees to thank for giving the Cubs to motivation to sign the veteran. The Mets “Plan B” will have their infield much improved defensively at a decent price.


  1. Mike Young says:

    Steve – I followed the Mets Zobrist story from start to finish. I was disappointed with the way it concluded as well has how it was concluded. In retrospect, it looks to me like Zobrist, the Cubs, and Maddon (who has the same agent as Zobrist) used the Mets to establish the market price for Zobrist. Then after the offer was made, the Cubs went to work to conclude a deal with Brian Cashman that went down very quickly after the Mets offer was reported. Zobrist and Maddon were re-united at an amount just under want the Mets offered. That was acceptable to Zobrist because what he apparently wanted all along was to be re-united with Maddon.. I was pleased that the Mets were able to recover so well and so quickly, trading Niese for Wolker and signing Cabrera within 24 hours after the blind siding move by Zobrist and his agent. Bottom line the Mets solved two problems instead of one at a lower cost. Now we need a long relief man & spot starter (Colon?), a cross over LH reliever (Bastardo?) and a LF OF’er who can play CF – Span (SWH)? or Parra?). When these deals are completed the Mets will have done everything that could have been done this off season to improve the Mets for 2016. Thanks & Lets Go Mets! – Mike

  2. Steven Inman says:

    Mike I would much rather have Cabrera and Walker than Zobrist. Both Walker and Cabrera are on short-term contracts that will allow the Mets to keep their options open in the infield going forward. Two solid moves. -Steve

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