Giants open to reunion with Melky Cabrera
Melky Cabrera and the Giants did not exactly part on good terms in 2012, when the outfielder enjoyed a torrid first half before getting slapped with a 50-game ban for using performance-enhancing drugs. The Giants overcame his absence to win the World Series, of course, and Cabrera landed on his feet with the Blue Jays, playing well enough in his second year north of the border to reasonably demand a long-term contract this winter. Still, there was no shortage of awkwardness between the sides, as recently as May 2013 in Toronto, when Cabrera tried to dodge Giants writers, then relented, only to stir a minor controversy regarding the private ceremony in which he received his championship ring.
Through all of that, now that Pablo Sandoval is gone, and Yasmany Tomas and Nick Markakis are off the market, the Giants appear open to welcoming Cabrera back to San Francisco. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted early Thursday morning that the club has “expressed interest” in Cabrera’s services. A day earlier, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman heard that he’s searching for a five-year deal.
Cabrera, who doesn’t turn 31 until August, is younger than Markakis and Nelson Cruz, who both inked four-year pacts in recent days. A five-year commitment would only take Cabrera through his age-34 season, so there’s a chance that his next employer will avoid paying through the nose for a sharply declining player.
That’s why multiple clubs are kicking Cabrera’s tires, with the Reds and Royals joining the Giants, according to Heyman’s latest report. The Blue Jays, who previously had interest in re-upping with Melky, have moved on after acquiring Michael Saunders from the Mariners for J.A. Happ on Wednesday night. The Royals, who lost out to the Twins in the Torii Hunter bidding, are seeking a replacement for Norichika Aoki, who might jump to the top of teams’ outfield wishlists once Cabrera settles on his next home.
A below-average defensive outfielder by FRAA in all but one of his last seven seasons—excluding, incidentally, his one year with the Giants—Cabrera has never been an especially adept basestealer, either, so he earns his living at the plate. He’s hit over .300 in three of his last four seasons, and the lone exception in 2013, when his regression was more likely the product of an inflated 2012 BABIP and a litany of injuries (including tendinitis in his left knee) than of giving up steroids. Hence, there’s reason to believe Cabrera might be at least a 1.5-2.0 WARP player for the life of the deal, warranting the sort of outlay he’s rumored to be seeking.
Marlins join Chase Headley hunt
Speaking of players seeking five-year deals, there’s also Headley, the former Padre and Yankee who should benefit from the Red Sox decision to corner the third-base market. With Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez now in Boston, Headley is the top hot-corner bat available in free agency, and the suitors are beginning to line up.
Heyman added the Marlins to the mix on Thursday, suggesting they’d shift Casey McGehee to first base to make room for Headley at third. He pointed to Miami’s bid to reel in Adam LaRoche—who landed with the White Sox for $25 million over two years—as an indication that the club wants to upgrade at one of the corner-infield spots.
Moments later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweeted this:
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 4, 2014
Having an offer of that magnitude on the table this early in the process would affirm Headley’s search for a five-year pact. But which team ponied up the $65 million?
— Marino Pepén (@Marino_Pepen) December 4, 2014
Boston-area radio host Marino Pepén says it’s the Cubs, a curious fit given the plethora of young infielders lurking in the Windy City, but perhaps a precursor to a blockbuster trade for a pitcher or a sign that Kris Bryant will begin his major-league career in the outfield. There’s been no confirmation yet of Pepén’s report that Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Co. are actually the source of the aforementioned offer, so we’ll have to wait to see if other clubs lay claim to it.
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