I didn't really understand why he seemed so popular. I thought to myself it's just a gimmick, and he's probably just getting a share of the Yankee faithful love that seems outrageous to most out-of-towners. Yet, over the past few seasons I've watched this player progress and show me why he's been in demand by several teams since
This year, the outfielder not only had a breakthrough season, he'll be the nominee of the Giants, as nominated by the team's players, of the "Heart and Hustle, Player of the Year." Between skill and his fellow player's admiration, I'm inclined to wonder about whether the Tigers should be looking seriously at this free agent.
For the record, what did Melky do this past season?
Of course there is the matter of a 50 game suspension also being levied against him for breaking Baseball's anti-performance enhancing drug policy. Did the drugs really account for the difference in his performance though? I'm inclined to think not, but rather that he is a player that is maturing and reaching his peak production years. I would hope that, the drugs were to more to rehabilitate or improve endurance that really isn't that essential.
Here's what Yahoo had to say about his ranking and potential value as a free agent:
20. Melky Cabrera, OF: Wherever he signs, it will be value-price and worth the investment. He was playing MVP-caliber baseball before his positive test for testosterone, and if MLB wants to treat PED users with absolute forgiveness – and it does – then a smart team will step up and steal Cabrera on a one-year deal.
Hmmmm... I wonder if I'd even be willing to offer him a longer term performance laden deal, with a clause to assure he doesn't use performance enhancing drugs.
As a switch hitting leftfielder with decent speed, defense, and potentially outstanding on-base average, wouldn't he make a perfect #2 hitter in the Tiger lineup?
His past two prior seasons indicate this past season really wasn't a fluke. It seems reasonable to believe that he is achieving a steady level of progression:
|2010||ATL||G||147||PA509||AB458||R50|| H117 2B
It is a bit disconcerting that over the past 4 years he's played for 4 different teams. Did some of these teams detect a problem, but simply pass him along? Or, is it a more positive indication of how he was a player on the rise that teams were interested in adding to their squads? The Hustle Award would seem to indicate this being a true possibility.
As Jim Leyland always says, "90% of baseball is pitching," so I still hope we may see the team add to their cadre of pitchers. Anibal Sanchez has to be at or near the top of the list, and another relief pitcher or two wouldn't hurt as well. Still getting a reliable #2 hitting corner outfielder seems like a need as well.At least until Avisail Garcia or Nicholas Castellanos are ready to patrol the outfield full time.
So, in the mean time, would obtaining Melky for at least a couple of years be a bad idea? If they sign Brennan Boesch, it seems the team is a bit overstocked, unless they can deal him. Conversely, it is possible that they'd put Garcia back into the minors and use Andy Dirks as the first replacement option if Boesch falters. Would giving Garcia a year more of seasoning to develop some power be a bad idea? It also seems to me more likely that Castellanos is at least two more years away from making the big league roster. So, in the mean time, Melky could be just the right player to keep the Tigers on track back to the World Series in 2013.
What do you think is the best option?