NEW YORK — Asdrubal Cabrera returned the favor.
After the New York Mets passed on the infielder this offseason despite his interest in returning, Cabrera passed on signing with the club earlier this week after being released by the the Texas Rangers. Cabrera, instead, signed with the rival Washington Nationals.
“They called me and told me they want to come back here,” Cabrera said. “But, you know what, personally, they have the opportunity to keep me here in offseason and they bring in different guys from different teams. That was the one that make me, I told my family, my kids, and my son, Meyer, he was the one to tell me to come back to Washington. Best I do for him. That’s why I made the decision.”
Cabrera played for the Mets from 2016-18, and truly enjoyed his time in New York. The Mets traded him to the Phillies last July because they were out of the race, but Cabrera yearned to return to the team this offseason, a source told Yahoo Sports.
The Mets were in the market for a utility infielder, and ultimately selected general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s former client, Jed Lowrie.
Lowrie has yet to play after signing a two-year, $20 million deal, and the team has gone out of its way to provide as little information as possible on his status.
Cabrera mentioned his son, Meyer, twice during the interview, and how much it hurt him that the Mets didn’t re-sign his father. Meyer was often around the team and well-liked by the players, often wearing a mini “Cabby” jersey.
“They called me before they sign Lowrie, they call me, a week [before], we’d love to you back. They never call me back,” Cabrera said. “A week later they sign Lowrie. My son [Meyer] was the one, it breaks his feelings. He wanted to come back so bad. It is what it is. Part of the business.”
Cabrera, who signed with the Nationals on Tuesday, said the Mets actually called first after Texas parted ways with him. The 33-year-old switch-hitter believes the Nationals, who entered Friday leading the wild-card race, can reach the playoffs.
He will serve in a utility role for the team he played with in 2014.
“I made the choice to come here and very good team, they’re playing good right now,” Cabrera said. “Got a chance to be in the playoffs.”
Cabrera said he did not sign with the Nationals knowing he would get to face the Mets six more times this year, including three games this weekend.
“Not really,” Cabrera said. “Just come here and try to help the team no matter who they play.”
“I was ecstatic. You never know in this kind of situation what’s going to happen, it couldn’t work out any better for myself personally,” Panik said before the game. “I have a lot of family, a lot of friends in the area, so for me it would be coming to a club that’s hot right now, in a playoff push. It’s a great situation.”
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