PITTSBURGH — The Mets will see plenty of Asdrubal Cabrera the rest of the season, just not in their own dugout.
They sent the second baseman, who is in the last year of his contract, to the Phillies for righthanded pitching prospect Franklyn Kilome on Friday.
It’s the Mets’ second trade of a pending free agent this month; closer Jeurys Familia was sent to the Athletics last weekend.
“I feel good. I knew it was coming. It’s part of the game,” Cabrera said at PNC Park before catching a flight to Cincinnati to join his new team. “I leave with my head up because I did my best for the Mets.”
The Mets have 11 games left against NL East-leading Philadelphia, which will pay the rest of Cabrera’s salary this season.
Cabrera said his son — 11-year-old Meyer, a consistent presence in the Mets’ clubhouse — is excited that his father is joining a playoff contender.
Assistant general manager John Ricco had no qualms about trading with another team in the division. “With a player who is a potential free agent at the end of the year, it’s less of an issue,” he said. “Frankly, it’s probably more of an issue for the Phillies, dealing a young pitcher who they may end up seeing for a lot longer than we’ll probably see Asdrubal in a Phillies uniform.’’
The Mets are losing their leader in average (.277), slugging percentage (.488), home runs (18), RBIs (58) and doubles (23) — numbers compiled while Cabrera played through several physical issues.
He turned out to be one of the Mets’ most productive free-agent signings under Sandy Alderson. Signed to a two-year, $18.5-million deal after the 2015 season, Cabrera had his option picked up for a third year and another $8.5 million.
Cabrera averaged a slash line of .280/.343/.455, 18.5 homers, 60.5 RBIs and 138 games in 2016-17 before a big year this year, his best since 2011 and maybe ever. “Gritty, veteran guy that knows how to hit and is going to make all the plays,” manager Mickey Callaway said before the trade was completed. “You’re showing [younger] guys that it’s not easy to go out there and play every day and that you have to play through stuff and you have to grind it out and still be productive.
“Cabby is kind of an old-school guy that keeps on grinding it out and gets it done no matter how he is feeling.”
Kilome, 23, slots in as the Mets’ No. 5 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, which ranked the pitcher 10th in the Phillies’ system. Baseball Prospectus considered him a top-100 prospect in baseball before each of the past three seasons.
Kilome has a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s and an above-average curveball but lacks a third legitimate pitch. One rival scout suggested his future — whether as a starter or reliever — will be determined by whether he can develop his changeup. Ricco said the Mets view him as a starter long-term.
The 6-6, 175-pound Kilome had a 4.24 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, plus 83 strikeouts and 51 walks in 102 innings, with the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate. “He’s a little bit raw, but there’s a lot of potential there,” Ricco said.
Ricco said Jeff McNeil will absorb most of Cabrera’s playing time at second.
With Cabrera and Familia gone, the Mets are done dealing their most obvious trade candidates, but additional moves remain possible ahead of Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco are pending free agents, and there has been lots of interest in Zack Wheeler, Ricco said.
With Wheeler, there isn’t as much urgency to make a deal because he is under team control through 2019.
“We still have a few days. In most cases, those are the most active days,” Ricco said. “I’m not saying we will make any more deals, but we certainly will be on the phone working to see if there’s something that we can do to help us.”