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Mets officially pick up Asdrubal Cabrera’s 2018 option

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Confirming earlier reports, the Mets officially exercised Asdrubal Cabrera‘s $8.5 million option for 2018 on Friday. As Cabrera was due for a $2 million buyout, it effectively cost the team just $6.5 million to retain the veteran infielder.

Cabrera, 31, was booted from his regular post at shortstop as the Mets turned to top prospect Amed Rosario early in the year. Despite some rumblings about a potential trade, a deal never came to fruition and Cabrera split his remaining starts between second and third base. He finished the season batting .280/.351/.434 with 14 home runs and 1.3 fWAR, and his extraordinary second-half surge enticed the Mets to bring him back for an encore in 2018.

The club still has quite a few questions to resolve as they head into the offseason — namely, what to do with David Wright and where to stash Cabrera on a long-term basis. They’ll also have to make a decision on Jose Reyes, who is set to enter free agency this fall and looks like a backup infield option at best.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.