SAN FRANCISCO -- When Asdrubal Cabrera landed on the disabled list two weeks ago, he was the Mets' starting shortstop. When Cabrera returned to AT&T Park on Friday, manager Terry Collins greeted him with the news that he would become the team's new second baseman.
Blindsided by the move, Cabrera has asked the Mets to trade him.
"Personally, I'm not really happy with that move," Cabrera said. "If they have that plan, they should have told me before I came over here. I just told my agent about it. If they have that plan for me, I think it's time to make a move.
"What I saw the last couple of weeks, I don't think they have any plans for me. I told my agent, so we're going to see what happens in the next couple weeks."
Asked if he will accommodate Cabrera's desire to be traded, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said: "As a practical matter, that's easier said than done even if I were so inclined. I don't know that that's something he really wishes. ... We'll see what develops with all our players."
Cabrera's primary grievance with the Mets is a lack of communication. Playing in two rehab games at Class A St. Lucie, Cabrera appeared once at shortstop and once at designated hitter, without any knowledge that the Mets planned to move him. Cabrera contended that if the Mets want to shift him off shortstop, they should exercise his $8.5 million 2018 option to compensate him.
"If they don't want to pick my option up, I don't think that's good for me to be a free agent and move [to second base] now," Cabrera said. "I've got my family to think about, too. I think I've got a couple years left in my career."
Cabrera, 31, has been sidelined since June 13 due to a sprained left thumb, which he originally injured one month earlier. Batting .244 with six home runs in 49 games, he ranks second-to-last in the Major Leagues with -9 Defensive Runs Saved at shortstop. In part because of Cabrera's defensive shortcomings, the Mets want Jose Reyes to continue playing every day at short -- at least until top prospectAmed Rosario arrives from the Minors.
Cabrera debuted at second in the Mets' 11-4 win over the Giants, handing all five of his chances, including a second-inning double-play turn with Reyes. He also rapped out three hits, taking his first right-handed swings since before going on the DL.
"I know he can play second base," Collins said. "I watched him take ground balls today and he's got tremendous hands. I know he can play second and I know he can play it very well. He's a professional."
Earlier this season, Cabrera said, the team discussed moving him to third base, a position he has played just once in his 11-year career. At the time, Cabrera asked the Mets to pick up his option and they declined.
That decision is not about to change, according to Alderson.
"I'd have to go back and look at our history over the last seven years. I don't recall exercising an option in June for the following year," the GM said. "It hasn't happened to date. It's not going to happen."
As the Mets slip further out of contention, there is a growing sense around the club that several pending free agents, including Cabrera, Jay Bruce and Addison Reed, will be traded prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But Cabrera's public request complicates things for a Mets club still hoping to play winning baseball over the coming weeks.
Following a closed-door meeting Friday with Collins and Alderson, the Mets decided to keep Cabrera in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Giants, with Collins saying that gives the team "the best chance to win." Cabrera added he intends to give the Mets "100 percent" effort despite his desire to be traded.
"We'll get through it," Collins said. "Right now, everybody needs to look in the mirror and do their jobs, period. ... He's playing second base tonight. I know he's not happy about it, which I just found out. So we're going to move on."