PHILADELPHIA -- Seemingly unchanged save for the red Phillies T-shirt draped across his shoulders, Asdrubal Cabrera on Thursday expressed appreciation for the trade that sent him from New York to Philadelphia on July 27. In an instant, Cabrera went from a fourth-place team to the thick of a pennant race.
"It feels good when a team like this wants you on the team, and wants you to try to help them make it to the playoffs," Cabrera said before he prepared to play the Mets for the first time since the trade, with New York at Citizens Bank Park for the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday that opened a five-game series.
After batting .277 with 18 home runs and an .817 OPS in 98 games for the Mets, Cabrera entered Thursday's play with a .220 average, two home runs and .654 OPS over his first 16 games with the Phillies. He has also regularly played shortstop -- his natural position, which the Mets stopped allowing him to play midway through last season.
"I thought he obviously swung the bat really well the whole time that he was with us this year," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "He's a guy that goes out there and comes to play every day, no matter what's ailing him or whatever. No matter how the season's going, he comes to play every day. You can't ask for anything more than that."
Set to become a free agent after this season, the Mets saw an opportunity to deal Cabrera for right-handed pitching prospect Franklyn Kilome, who now rates as their fifth-ranked prospect.
Over two and a half seasons with the Mets, Cabrera batted .279 with an .803 OPS, playing a key role in their run to the National League Wild Card Game in 2016. It is an experience he hopes to replicate this autumn in Philadelphia.
"You want all these guys to play for something," Callaway said. "When you've had a guy on your team … you always want them to go succeed and win. So yeah, you get some gratification out of that."