Mets infielder Asdrubal Cabrera asked for a trade because he did not want to change positions. But a month later, the veteran infielder has signaled a willingness to move around the diamond once more, a concession that could ultimately help the Mets find a suitor for his services.
The switch-hitting Cabrera, 31, is expected to begin taking grounders at third base in preparation for possible game action at a position that he’s played just once in the major leagues, sources said Wednesday.
Cabrera already moved once this season, shifting from shortstop to second base. He also quickly walked back his desire to be dealt.
But with the Mets out of contention, and the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline looming, several veteran players on the trading block have recently been approached about adjustments to playing time.
For instance, sources said the Mets’ four outfielders will play in a rotation leading up to the deadline. It was in one such meeting when Cabrera insisted he was open to a possible move to third base, which could help the Mets on two fronts.
Neil Walker is expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment this weekend with a possible return by Monday in San Diego. He’s slated to play second base. Walker has been on the DL since June 15 with a partial tear of his left hamstring.
“They put him through three straight days of some pretty good running drills and he’s been fine,” Mets manager Terry Collins said Wednesday. “He’s had consistent batting practice, now he’s been taking some ground balls, so it’s time to get him out and get him in some games.”
Meanwhile, third basemen are in higher demand in the trade market, and Cabrera playing the position could make him more marketable. His name has been linked to the Red Sox, who are in need of a third baseman.
But sources said the Red Sox have yet to signal any intent to engage the Mets in talks for Cabrera, who is hitting .254 with nine homers and 29 RBIs.
Various reports also have linked the Red Sox with infielders T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores. But a source said that the Mets prefer to trade veterans on expiring deals such as Cabrera rather than players with remaining team control such as Rivera and Flores. Both Rivera and Flores have attracted some interest from multiple teams.