By now, predicting whether or not the San Francisco Giants will sign Melky Cabrera this off season is like beating a dead horse. It’s been a highly talked about topic since he was suspended in mid-August, and the talk won’t mute until the final dominos fall.
While the cons outweigh the pros in bringing back Cabrera, the Giants might be left with no alternative.
Here are three reasons why the Giants should bring back Cabrera:
Will Solve A Problem At A Low Rate
Cabrera’s drug scandal obviously derailed him the opportunity of a boatload of cash in the open market. For potential suitors, this is good and bad, simultaneously. The good side is the fact that his demands won’t exceed $5 million at the most. The bad side, though, is the unknown. This isn’t to say that he is a risk per se, but more of a curious figure. The unknown of whether the drugs improved his numbers will always be the unknown. That’s not going to change unless Cabrera openly admits his feelings towards the this topic. Again, the chances of that happening are also thin.
The Giants aren’t tightly constricted in terms of their payroll. Of course, general manager Brian Sabean’s top priorities remain clear—Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Affeldt. It is unknown if he has a deep desire to retain the entire trio, but Pagan and Scutaro seem to be his top two if they had to be ranked, especially considering the holes that would arise from their departures.
So, the point is, by signing Cabrera they will save money in the long run. Instead of stretching the checkbook for Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher, or B.J. Upton, (who are all projected to wring in contracts worth at least $13 million per year) they would pay Cabrera a significantly less salary.
Plus, the All-Star game MVP has no leverage in contract talks whatsoever. It’s similar to a take it or leave compromise. And for Cabrera, who is just craving a second chance, it’s safe to say that he would take almost any offer thrown his direction. Basically, the ball would be in the Giants’ court if they were to engage in conversations. That’s a big “if”, however.
Assuming that Cabrera makes a small fraction of what he would’ve made had he not been busted for PEDs, the risk involved would be substantially low; thus, the expectations would also be low.
If the once fan-favorite “Melk Man” does indeed return to San Francisco, the expectations from the fans will still be high for what his contract would indicate. That would just be natural given the incredible season he compiled last year. From a Giants’ standpoint, though, he will not have to mirror last season by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, no harm would obviously be done if he does replicate it, but it is not expected, per se.
The only risk involved in signing Cabrera, is the fact that the Giants’ reputation as an entire team would decrease for bringing back a steroid user. With the way they handle things, they are known as one of the more classier organizations in the league. There is a chance that they would lose that tag if Cabrera put on the black and orange next season.
They Don’t Have Many Options
Unless Sabean decides to improve his team via the trade like he did last year, his options are extremely slim outside of Josh Hamilton and a couple of others such as Upton and Swisher. Though it is doubtful that they would want to sign any of the three barring a dramatic situation where they needed an outfielder because Pagan leaves.
If there was one tidbit of leverage that Cabrera can lean on, it is the fact that the market is not heavy on outfielders. With that said, Cabrera still has hit caveats, and ultimately won’t push teams very hard to get a deal done.
However, the Giants cannot rest easy in these coming weeks. Hunter Pence is arbitration eligible and is expected to make up to $14 million on a one-year deal. The aforementioned Pagan will draw a hefty amount of interest given the weak market. And it’s unlikely that the Giants want to begin the season with the inconsistent Gregor Blanco in left field. He is viewed as a stop-gap more than anything.
With the details considered, the world champs might default to Cabrera if all else fails.