Nov 30, 2009, 2:58 PM EDT
WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports that Alex Cora is close to returning to the Mets for the same $2 million that he earned this season. According to Bradford the one-year contract will also include a vesting option for 2011, but the details of that aren’t yet available.
Cora was slated for a bench job when he joined the Mets as a free agent last offseason, but Jose Reyes’ hamstring problems pushed him into extended duty and he ended up with more than 300 plate appearances for the first time since 2004 despite playing through torn thumb ligaments in both hands.
He didn’t play particularly well, batting just .251/.320/.310 while making 54 starts at shortstop and another 13 at second base, but as far as utility infielders go Cora is a decent one. As is the case with most mid-30s infielders his range defensively has slipped, but he remains capable of doing a passable job at either up-the-middle spot and has hit .254/.326/.344 over the past three seasons.
MLB shortstops and second basemen hit .271/.332/.405 as a group this season and those numbers include all the starters, so .254/.326/.344 or even .251/.320/.310 isn’t bad from a backup. Plus, if Cora ends up logging 300 plate appearances again in 2010 that means something went terribly wrong for the Mets and paying $2 million for a mediocre utility man will be the least of their problems.