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New York Mets: Time to Acquire Asdrubal Cabrera at Winter Meetings

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COMMENTARY | The New York Mets are optimistic about finalizing a deal with free agent Curtis Granderson, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. If Sandy Alderson acquires the outfielder, he'll be able to shift his focus to filling other roster needs at the Winter Meetings.

Alderson should be focused next on shortstop, and his top target should be Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians are coming off a 92-win season and their first playoff appearance since 2007. Despite their successful 2013 campaign, they have multiple holes in their roster to fill for next year.

Carlos Santana has spent a lot of time as the team's designated hitter, but Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports he's working to morph into a third baseman. If he makes this switch, Cleveland could upgrade a corner infield position with a player who hit .268/.377/.455 with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs last season -- without taking on more salary.

While the Tribe would gain a third baseman in this situation, they lose depth elsewhere. Santana and Nick Swisher were sharing duties between first base and designated hitter, leaving a hole to fill. Cleveland also needs to address its starting rotation.

They officially lost Scott Kazmir to the Oakland Athletics via free agency on December 2, and Ubaldo Jimenez isn't expected to return, either.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on November 20 the organization would listen to offers for Asdrubal Cabrera, and might deal him if it receives the right offer.

The Mets have available designated hitters/first basemen in Lucas Duda and Ike Davis, depth in starting pitching and a hole at shortstop heading into 2014. Sandy Alderson should be chatting with Indians general manager Chris Antonetti next week at the Winter Meetings.

The Indians will be searching for pitchers ready to contribute at the major league level next season. If New York is willing to make either Jonathon Niese or Dillon Gee available in a potential trade, it could pique Antonetti's interest.

Neither team wants to break the bank heading into next season -- a swap including this group of players would make financial sense, as well.

Niese will make $5 million in 2014, while MLB Trade Rumors projects Gee ($3.4 million), Duda ($1.8 million) and Davis ($3.5 million) to get raises through arbitration. Cabrera will earn $10 million before becoming a free agent next winter.

I'd prefer to hold on to Niese since he's the sole left-handed pitcher in New York's starting rotation. Offering a package consisting of Duda or Davis, Gee and a minor league player or two could give the Mets an All-Star caliber shortstop. Financially, New York would only be adding $4.8 million (at most) to its 2014 payroll.

Giving up controllable players for another with just one guaranteed year left before free agency is risky. Also, losing Gee would create another void in a starting rotation already missing Matt Harvey.

The Mets would need a contingency plan for the rotation ready in anticipation of this deal -- if it came to fruition. It would be rolling the dice, but adding a player of Cabrera's level to essentially a one-year/$4.8 million deal is worth it.

Sources:

Twitter: Jon Heyman's tweet on Granderson negotiations

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Report on Asdrubal Cabrera's availability

MLB.com: Report on Carlos Santana changing positions

SFGate.com: Scott Kazmir signing

MLB Trade Rumors: Arbitration salary projections

Baseball Reference: salary information and statistics

Matt Musico's Mets opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, Bleacher Report, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue and Mets Merized Online. To keep up with Matt, you can follow him on Twitter.

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