As the San Francisco Giants celebrate their second National League title in three years, they are doing so without one of their biggest pieces from the regular season: Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera was hit with a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He was in line for a batting title prior to the suspension, and was putting up numbers that could have put him in the MVP discussion. He also likely cost himself at least $50 million out on the free agent market this winter.
Which makes him a prime candidate for the Chicago Cubs.
Despite glaring needs all over the diamond, the Cubs aren’t expected to make any landmark deals that would net them a building block or two for the future this winter. They’re more likely to take a similar approach to last off-season, when they opted for cheaper, shorter term deals for guys that they could spin at the deadline.
Cabrera is going to get picked up somewhere. He’s already eligible to come back from his suspension so that isn’t a concern. The issue is going to force some teams to shy away, but there are enough clubs out there that needs help in the outfield that will consider signing him to a contract. The Cubs should be one of them.
The Cubs need help in the outfield. David DeJesus and Alfonso Soriano are both trade candidates. Brett Jackson will begin the year in Triple-A. Though there are more pressing issues elsewhere, particularly in the pitching staff, the Cubs will focus on the outfield as well.
It’s not like Cabrera came out of nowhere. His 2012 season was obviously an outlier in his career numbers, but he had been posting solid numbers the last few seasons. He had a very good season for the Kansas City Royals in 2011 before signing with the Giants and posting that absurd .346 batting average.
The suspension could lead to a one-year deal as the best Cabrera can get this winter. Should that be the case, I could easily see the Cubs making a run at him. He’s exactly the type of guy they want right now. He’s trying to rebound from the embarrassment of the PED suspension, and signing him on a cheap, one-year deal could lead to a solid return from a contender looking for another outfield bat for the stretch run.