The August 31 trade deadline came and went, and Asdrubal Cabrera remained with the New York Mets. Ironically, Cabrera requested a trade back in June after the team asked him to move from shortstop to second base. The 31-year-old veteran, who originally wanted out of New York, was the only player not traded.

The 31-year-old veteran spoke to reporters after Thursday’s 7-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, wishing his former teammates well in their new cities.

“Everybody wants to be in the playoffs,” he said. “I am really happy for them, and the Mets are still my team.”

The Mets traded away Lucas Duda, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, and Curtis Granderson, as they retool for 2018. There are a few theories as to why the Mets chose to keep Cabrera. One theory surrounds David Wright‘s uncertain future with the Mets. The team might choose to pick up Cabrera’s 2018 player option and insert him at third base, should Wright choose to retire.

Cabrera will earn $8.5 million on his player option for next season. If the Mets do not pick up Cabrera’s option, he is still in line to earn $2 million in severance pay.

Cabrera can serve as a stopgap in the infield for 2018, providing leadership for a team that has traded away many of its veteran players. With top prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith on the roster, Cabrera can shoulder more of a mentorship role into next season. Jose Reyes has already taken up that mantle for Rosario.

Cabrera is slashing .259/.332/.395 with 10 home runs and 42 runs batted in through 108 games. With Rosario at shortstop, Cabrera proved versatile as a utility infielder. He played shortstop, second base and third base at various points this season. From an insurance perspective, perhaps the Mets kept Cabrera as a backup plan in case Wright never plays another MLB game.

Either way, Cabrera wants to know his role for next season.

“When you play one position you come every day to work for that,” Cabrera said. “It’s hard to play two positions, because personally for me I have to get a different glove. That’s really hard.”

Of course, the Mets do not have to rely solely on Cabrera. If the Mets choose younger options at third, they can go with Wilmer Flores or T.J. Rivera.

No matter what position Cabrera plays next season, he hopes it is with the Mets. He remained optimistic about the team’s future.

“I love this team,” he said. “We have good balance now of young guys, going to be a good team next year. Everybody is hopeful.”

 

Jesse Andreozzi is a staff writer with Outside Pitch Sports Network covering the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Jesse_Andreozzi

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