There will be no other San Diego Padres player with a more picked apart and heavily watched performance in 2014 than that of Shortstop Everth Cabrera.
By now, we all know the story of how Cabrera’s breakout 2013 season was cut short because of his link to an admitted use of performing enhancing drugs. Cabrera has already paid his debt to the MLB, but in my interaction with Padres fans, I have found that he still has some work to do in order to regain some trust within the fan base.
Because Cabrera was playing at such a high level across the board, a higher level of play that had ever been shown by Cabrera in his career, some fans feel like they were hoodwinked, or Friar-hoodwinked in this case, after learning of his use of performance enhancers.
With that being said, anything less than the level of performance Cabrera displayed in 2013 in 2014 will not go over well with the some of the Padres fanbase. Long story short, picking up where he left off last season will be the only thing that could get him back in the good standings of some Padres fans.
So far this spring, Cabrera is doing just that, picking up where he left off last season. After doubling twice in Tuesday’s matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cabrera would collect two more hits in Wednesday’s 8-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox, upping his batting average to .364 on the spring.
Speaking to the local newspaper last month, Cabrera spoke on how he had to “come back from zero” and how he had to work every day to get last season’s momentum back again. That sounded like a player who realized the situation at hand, and his performance thus far shows that he not only spoke about it but acted on his words as well, because at this point, he looks like the same Cabrera we saw last season.
Anyone who knows me knows that I feel Cabrera is the most important piece to this Padres’ offensive puzzle. His skill set and high energy brings an element to this Padres team unmatched by any other player in the lineup. As Cabrera went last season, seemingly the team went as well, and that has also seemed to be the case early on this spring.
The Padres scored six runs in Tuesday’s game and eight runs in Wednesday’s game, both of which being their best spring efforts and both of which started with leadoff hits by Cabrera. Wednesday’s performance was especially impressive, as the team scored six of their eight runs off of the extremely talented White Sox ace Chris Sale.
I have to admit that I’m very happy to see Cabrera playing well this spring, because the Padres have been starving for impactful offensive players for years, and it would be a shame if Cabrera’s 2013 performance couldn’t be repeatable without the help of performance enhancers.
So far, it looks like the Padre’s lone All-Star representative from last season is back and ready for another strong campaign in 2014.