Toronto Blue Jays Facing LF Quandry Again As Melky Cabrera's Legs Finally Give In

By Thom Tsang
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Melky Cabrera finally had enough.

Well, his legs did anyway, to be more accurate about it. After playing through what seemed like the majority of his 2013 season on one leg thanks to a balky hamstring that made him look like he was dragging cement blocks every time he ran, the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder finally made it to the DL just prior to the weekend series with what has been diagnosed as knee tendinitis.

Understandably, the general response hasn’t been so much as one of dire concern so much as just one question: how did it take so long?

Then again, considering that the excitement has yet to subside over the return of fan favourite Munenori Kawasaki from the minors as a result of of the DL move, maybe it’s a bit more fair to say that there are understandable reasons why the fan base might not be overly concerned.

Despite a .319/.361/.460 line over the month of May that looked like it might finally start to turn Cabrera’s disappointing start around, the harsh fact of the matter is that he’s been a below replacement level player for the Blue Jays (-0.1 fWAR through 78 games) despite his willingness to play through his leg injury.

Heart, however, doesn’t hide his poor .684 OPS for the season(.639 in June), and combined with his already questionable defense that was never a strong suit, and you could see why the Blue Jays wouldn’t have too much of a problem going back to Rajai Davis and his .311/.341/.387 line with 16 steals … even if he would be better served in a platoon.

That’s all to say that for one reason or another, and not for the lack of trying, the Blue Jays’ issues with left field being a bit of a hole over the last few seasons (see: Eric Thames, Travis Snider, Davis, etc.)  has carried through to 2013.

Of course, with a $8 million salary in 2013 and 2014, it’s a hole that Cabrera will be expected to fill once his injury (which is expected to be not serious … not that we haven’t heard that before) is healed.

Expectations and results are two different things, however, and the Blue Jays can only hope that his issues at the plate — especially his dramatic power decline (career-low .084 ISO) — have been related to his leg injuries and not … well, you know.

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