Football What turned Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera off from Mets reunion

What turned Nationals’ Asdrubal Cabrera off from Mets reunion

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Asdrubal Cabrera was very much interested in a reunion with the Mets — in the offseason.

The Mets went a different route, but were the first team to call him last weekend after he was designated for assignment and released by the Rangers. Cabrera returned the favor and said thanks, but no thanks, and signed with Washington.

So the 33-year-old infielder ended up Friday night back at Citi Field in a Nationals uniform — though not in the starting lineup — ready to chase a playoff spot with one of the Mets’ biggest rivals.

“They called me and told me they wanted me to come back here,” Cabrera said. “But personally, they had the opportunity to keep me here in the offseason and they [brought] in different guys from different teams.”

Cabrera spent two and a half years with the Mets, batting .279 with an .803 OPS before they traded him to the Phillies last July. He had become a fan favorite along the way, even after briefly requesting a trade in the summer of 2017 when he was unhappy the Mets had decided to move him from shortstop to second base.

The relationship between the two sides had smoothed over since then, so much so that Cabrera was interested in coming back to Queens in the offseason. He said the Mets had called to express their interest in him in January, but a week later signed Jed Lowrie — who has yet to play a game in a Mets uniform.

“They never called me back,” Cabrera said. “But it is what it is. It’s part of the business.”

Not returning to the Mets crushed his son, Meyer, Cabrera said. Instead, he signed with the Rangers and hit .235 with a .711 OPS in 93 games before they cut ties last week. He became a free agent on Saturday and signed Monday with the Nationals.

That joining the Nationals gave Cabrera a chance to play the Mets was not much of a factor, he said. The Mets, meanwhile, ended up landing Joe Panik to fill their infield need in Robinson Cano’s absence with a torn hamstring.

Cabrera will play a utility role for the Nationals as they chase the Braves in the NL East while entering Friday as the first wild card.

“They’re a team that’s playing really good right now, so we got a chance to be in the playoffs,” Cabrera said of Washington, where he also played in 2014. “Just come here and try to help the team no matter who we play.”

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