CINCINNATI -- As the hours ticked down to Thursday's deadline for players to be traded via waivers and still be eligible for the postseason, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera packed his royal blue suitcase and boarded a bus alongside his Mets teammates. Club officials did not expect a last-minute trade of Cabrera
CINCINNATI -- As the hours ticked down to Thursday's deadline for players to be traded via waivers and still be eligible for the postseason, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera packed his royal blue suitcase and boarded a bus alongside his Mets teammates. Club officials did not expect a last-minute trade of Cabrera -- which held true -- making him the only Mets veteran heavily rumored in trade talks to stay with the team.
That is just fine by Cabrera, despite his demand for a trade back in June. (Though teams can still consummate waiver deals in September, it happens rarely because of the postseason roster twist.)
Cabrera has since come to embrace the reality that he is a Met.
"I love this team," he said. "We've got good talent now, young guys and they're learning a little bit. It's going to be a good team next year if everybody stays healthy."
The young players to which Cabrera referred -- namely infielders Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini -- have ensured that Cabrera does not have a defined role. Some days, he plays second base, a position he has manned in the past. Other days, he plays third, where defensive metrics have been kind to him in a small sample. Still others, he is on the bench. Only once since June has Cabrera manned shortstop, which he played throughout the Mets' Wild Card run last summer.
"He's been outstanding," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "One of the things we wanted to make sure that Asdrubal did was show everybody, including us, that he could be a guy that played around the infield. And I know he can."
When the Mets traded Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Addison Reed and Curtis Granderson, leaving Cabrera as one of the few veterans left on the active roster, he watched and waited for a deal that never occurred. Overall, Cabrera is hitting .259 with 10 home runs in 108 games bouncing around the infield.
"It's not what I want, but I've got to play where the team needs me," Cabrera said. "I'll try to do my best at any position."
Despite his unhappiness as a utility man, Cabrera said he still hopes the Mets pick up the $8.5 million option for 2018 on his contract, and team officials have warmed to that idea in recent months. The Mets have incentive to retain Cabrera because of the $2 million buyout on his option, making it effectively a $6.5 million proposition for them.
The problem is where Cabrera might play. Rosario is penciled in as the Mets' starting shortstop for at least the next six years. The Mets are also likely to look for an everyday second or third baseman this offseason, knowing they can no longer count on David Wright. Even if they don't acquire one, Cecchini, Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera will all demand playing time at those positions, while Jose Reyes has expressed interest in returning.
If he comes back as well, Cabrera says, he would be happy to play every day at second or third. But his realistic role might be something similar to this season, bouncing between the two positions.
Cabrera will again need to grow comfortable with it.
"I understood his frustration in the beginning," Collins said. "This guy was the shortstop here last year when we went to the playoffs, and he played great. And all of the sudden, you're asking [him] to move. I understand that. He's a possible free agent. I get it all. He just let his emotions get the best of him. But I knew he could play anywhere."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.