I’m in Houston right now, and I was walking into my hotel after getting some clothing from the Galleria, but before I go use the elevator to go to my room, I walk to the bar area on the right to see the ESPN channel on with its breakdown of news. At the top left of the screen in bright red is the breaking news story of Melky Cabrera and his positive test for testosterone.
My immediate reaction is wow, I’ve got to tell Stacey (my Giants fan friend) about this because this is big news. Melky Cabrera was easily a top three player on the San Francisco Giants and maybe their best player this year for a team that looked like it could take over the NL West and chase another championship.
Now, the Giants have trouble ahead in their future with Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games. They are currently tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 64-53 record in the West. The Giants have battled back from a struggling Tim Lincecum, injured Pablo Sandoval, and other issues to be a playoff caliber team. Without Melky Cabrera… I don’t think they’ll be able to pull it off.
Cabrera right now is the second-best batter on the Giants. He’s had an All-Star year, was the All-Star game’s MVP, and leads the National League in runs scored (84), total hits (159) and is second in batting average (.346).
His batting line is an elite .346/.390/.516 for an OPS of .906. That’s an MVP type of year that will end 45 games early. We’re talking about subtracting a guy who hits quite a lot of extra base hits, walks quite a bit, and hits quite often from a team that needs bats.
The Giants gave up a starting pitcher in Jonathan Sanchez last year in a trade in order to get Cabrera for their offense after they failed to make the playoffs in 2011. The Giants are two years removed from being the champions themselves, but they beat the Rangers with pure pitching. They were not a dominant hitting team, but rather a team that got hot at the right time.
Cabrera’s addition gave the Giants the leadoff man they needed to help them score runs and win tight ball games so they don’t have to rely on just pure pitching and timely hitting. Like I said, the man leads the whole NL in runs scored. He’s their best batter besides the catcher Buster Posey.
There is no way to just fix this problem for the Giants. The trade deadline has passed. They have no time and no one to seriously consider adding to their team that can take Cabrera’s spot right now. Guys who bat near .350 don’t grow on trees.
Cabrera’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) rating on baseball-reference is 4.7, so he’s worth about five games over the span of a season.
The Giants have no games to spare with a tie. All they need is one more loss. Sad day for Giants fans. They are in severe trouble now.
In a way, we should’ve suspected something was up with Cabrera. He was playing SO good up to this point. He finally had an All-Star selection to his selection. It looked like the light finally turned on inside this great player.
Now, it looks like the testosterone is the cause of his success. Maybe I’m giving it too much credit, but it certainly is a question. My question is when did he start taking it. Just this year or last year too when he was with the Royals? I’d gamble that he started in Kansas City.
It would it explain how he’s gotten so good these past two years with the Royals and Giants.
From 2005-2010, Melky Cabrera had a .267/.328/.379 batting line with the Yankees and Braves. Respectable yes, but it certainly isn’t fantastic or MVP worthy. But, if we take his previous two years, he has a .322/.360/.489 batting line.
Sure, his OBP only is up 32 points, but his ability to hit and hit with power has surged up like a thermometer under hot water. He turned from a semi-good hitter who will make lineups to an elite hitter. To a guy that you have to put in the lineup in the top two spots.
I think the natural thing was to assume that the game finally came to him on a greater level. Like he was a guru who achieved the final serenity or the martial artist who finally earned his blackbelt. It is better to think that than to assume he’s cheating by taking synthetic testosterone and doping himself like he was a horse.
In the end, we don’t know what will happen. Cabrera is a free agent this upcoming offseason and the questions are going to mount. Let’s say some team with a lot of money like the Chicago White Sox wants to take a look at our Mr. Cabrera. How in the bloody world do you know what to pay him?
Is this Melky Cabrera the Melky Cabrera that hits .260-.280 and probably deserves a few million over let’s say four years or is this Melky Cabrera still able to his .345 by late August? Did the testosterone really make him better or is it just a coincidence? Or is it he better than .280, but not a .345 hitter. Is he a .300 hitter that deserves above average money and a high lineup spot?
There is no way to find that out. He’s the red flag of this upcoming free agency and teams better watch out when the time comes. For now, the Giants have got to watch out for the Dodgers.