Offseason

Phils Linked To Melky Cabrera

Cabrera's team may wrap-up a championship tonight but he is not on the roster. Would he fit with the 2013 Phillies? Photo: AP

As his Giants look to wrap up a World Series sweep tonight without him, many within baseball are already speculating where Melky Cabrera will end up. Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the Giants, Mets, Yankees, and Phillies are among the likely destinations for the much-maligned center fielder. The big questions are: how much, how long, and which Cabrera will the winning bidder get.

Sherman speculates that Cabrera may be out of the Mets’ price range and may not receive as much playing time that he needs to enhance his value with the Yankees, leaving the Giants, who Sherman says officials have privately conceded their interest, and the Phillies as teams who would be among the most likely suitors.

One of the most frustrating aspects of possibly signing Cabrera, aside from him abandoning the Giants and creating a fake website to tout his innocence, even at a much discounted rate of between $2-8 million per year as cited in the Sherman piece, is that Cabrera has had wildly inconsistent seasons. Cabrera, a career .284/.338/.414 hitter, hit .346/.390/.516 this year with the assistance of performance enhancing drugs but as recently as 2010 was an overweight, out-of-shape outfielder who was replaced down the stretch in Atlanta, hitting .255/.317/.354.

Cabrera would undoubtedly be an asset and an upgrade over John Mayberry in center, even at his presumed pre-steroid 2009 or 2011 levels (.274/.336/.416 and .305/.339/.470)  but his inconsistencies and character issues (see: establishing fake website, walking out without explanation on his team) are something the Phillies should avoid. Sherman notes that scouts had labeled Cabrera as an extra outfielder in his time in the minors and for his first few seasons with the Yankees (-0.4, 1.7, 0.5, 0.2, and 1.6 WAR), the numbers bore that out.

Opinion: If I were the Phillies, I would avoid unless Cabrera is still available in January as a scrap-pile type pick-up and the Phillies have not yet picked up suitable outfield help. I don’t think Michael Bourn or Josh Hamilton are the answer, but I think B.J. Upton and Shane Victorino could be had for the right price and help the Phillies compete for the next few seasons in center. Cabrera would be a nice extra outfielder, or the emergency January answer in center, but the Phillies are already loaded with extra-outfielders (Mayberry, Laynce Nix, and non-tender candidate Nate Schierholtz) and he likely does not make sense for the Phils.

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0 Comments

  1. Mike

    October 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    For the love of god, NO. I do not want him in Philly. He should never be allowed to play baseball again, especially after that bullshit coverup.

  2. George

    October 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I agree, although I’d hesitate even if he’s still available in January.

  3. EricL

    October 28, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    I’d be happy with him on a $8 million dollar deal and I’d be absolutely elated if you could get him in the $2-5 million dollar range, which is completely unrealistic.

    Melky is one of the best players on the market this season, and he’ll be significantly cheaper than most of the other players who aren’t as good or as young as he is. Yeah, I think I’d go ahead and sign him.

    People are idiots when it comes to steroids. Why didn’t steroids allow Freddy Galvis to become a good hitter? Why did Ryan Braun have a better season this year than he did last, when he tested positive? Did anyone notice that all the people who were linked to steroids were actually excellent players before steroids came around? The reality is there’s actually no good evidence that steroids improve baseball performance. They may allow for increased muscle growth and decreased recovery times, but there’s no evidence that larger muscles translate into better performance.

    BTW, I hope everyone who thinks like Mike above didn’t cheer for Brett Myers in the 2008 NLDS vs. Milwaukee, because if you’re going to use character to judge a ball player, I’m pretty sure a guy who beats his wife through the streets of Boston is worse than a guy who puts a few extra hormones into his body and then tries to get out of the punishment when caught.

    Melky was also rather magnanimous in giving up his claim to the batting title this year. That should count for something if you’re basing your judgements on his character rather than his on-field ability.

    • Lefty

      October 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      I don’t like cheaters. IMO magnanimous after the fact is good, but it doesn’t change anything. Here’s why-

      It’s not about whether I believe steroids improve performance or not. It’s about an uneven playing field created by those trying to get an edge over others that don’t have the same opportunity. That’s all, no moral bullshit, just a level playing fleld.

      As far as I’m concerned, I’d be pleased if Freddy Galvis never plays another game for the Phils, I’m no hypocrite.

      That said, I won’t stop being a Phillies fan just because they decide to go the “Melky way” or continue to play Galvis. I doubt those two will try it again.

      And before you make the amphetamine argument , Mike Schmidt and many of his teammates took “greenies”, but before being banned, they were apparently available to all players, because during that time the practice was “wink wink” allowed by team officials.

      • George

        October 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm

        I think any player has the opportunity to use steroids, if they look in the right place.

        However, they are banned, and breaking the rules is cheating, which I don’t like, either.

        That said, I do think the testing procedure is flawed, and some players, like Romero, have been screwed over by it. I also wonder how many players have been able to cheat between urine tests or with other substances. There’s just no such thing as a level playing field.

      • Lefty

        October 28, 2012 at 10:53 pm

        Poor wording, “others that don’t have the opportunity”, should have read- others that follow the rules by not taking advantage of the opportunity. My bad.

        If you practice ethics, ….if you were taught any moral values at all from your parents, if you have great leadership, you CAN have a level playing field. Baseball is doing everything it can to meet that goal. The United States Congress (much to my dismay) has even meddled to try to help.

        But alas, this is the second or third level of the “me” generation so I guess that’s expecting too damn much.

      • Ken Bland

        October 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm

        Lefthander,

        Ain’t no amphetamine arguement here. It’s about second chances. It’s hard to imagine that if you sat down with the Melkman you’d see anything less than massive remorse. Prior to his inceident, the baseball gods had MLB scripted to wrap with a parade in Cincinatti. They decided to teach Melky as much lesson as possible, so the Giants won it all. If he didn’t learn his lesson out of that, good grief. I mean, I’m assuming he did, so in that regard, even though additional crap came down after he was suspended, I’d think the pain maximized to where you gotta take a look and see if it did indeed sink in. So he’s worth checking out. Not like he whacked some guy, held a gun in a teller’s face, or crossed a red light while I was legally making a left. In simpler terms, save the “Just Say NO” for drug ed, not improving the club.

      • Lefty

        October 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

        Ken,
        He deserves a second chance, I have no issue with that. And I hope he gets one- somewhere else.

        And I agree that Paulie Walnuts gets no second chance, but he was funny.

  4. Bob in Bucks

    October 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    So, let me get this straight. If you are on the Phillies and get suspended for 50 days you are OK (J.C. Romero,Galvis) but if you are on another team (Melky Cabrera) then you are poison?

    Please folks, if you want to preach then the Phils need to clean house and dump Galvis immediately. And I know Romero was gone but they kept him way after he served his 50 day suspension.

    I think there will be enough demand to push the cost up to over $16 million for two years for the guy. As for me the lifetime BA is still great but ideally I would like to see more power. But ideally Phils have unlimited funds so we will have to settle for less.

    • Mike

      October 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      I didn’t say that. I was pissed at Galvis too. Difference with Freddy? He didn’t make up an obviously fake story & a website to go with it. If/when Melky gets caught again, is he going to make up another outlandish story? Who needs that? People make mistakes. Own up to them instead of lying to make yourself look like a saint.

      That said: I’m all for a lifetime ban on the first offense, to be honest. Get that sh*t out of professional sports…and as for Brett Myers? Throw his ass in jail and leave him there.

    • Ryne Duren

      October 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      remero was eventually exonerated, and galvis had such a miniscule amount of whatever the heck it was in him. but none the less he had it! but galvis to me doesn’t seem to be a dishonest person. him i definately would give a second chance. cabrera ? not after that fake web site shit. freddy took his lumps cabrera was dishing out lumps! lumps of lies!

      • George

        October 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm

        Romero wasn’t really exonerated. He still had to serve a suspension and feel the wrath of fans who called him a cheater.

        The Galvis case has been claimed to be a mniscule amount and no one will say of what. There are such things as false positives and chemicals which give misleading results. The “privacy” issues make most informed conclusions impossible(with the notable exception of testosterone in the urine) and seem to have the added curse of making a man look guilty until proven innocent, then taking away his rights to prove that innocence. It’s a stupid and very flawed setup, probably designed mostly as a sheild for Major League Baseball’s butt. Owners don’t care so much about cheating, they care that fans might think there is cheating and won’t show up at games. Hence, they’re putting on a big show by blasting a few cockroaches with grenade launchers.

  5. BART SHART

    October 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Melky is not only a questionable talent, because of his steroid use, but also a nasty and deceitful human being, a cancer in the clubhouse, and a fool. Leave his baggage at another team’s depot.

  6. Jeff Dowder

    October 28, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    If they’re happy with the numbers that Cabrera put up in Atlanta, I guess it’s the move to make. I’d want no part of him no matter what his price tag drops down to.

    • Lefty

      October 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      No one knows for certain, but in principle I have to say I agree with this. If they want the pre-testosterone Melky, then make the move, because that’s the one their likely to get.

      Doesn’t matter what we think anyway if they’ve decided Melky’s their target.

  7. betasigmadeltashag

    October 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I think it is unfair to lump JC with Galvis and Melky, JC took a GNC product that he had cleared through a trainer, and he thought through the league. I do think that Melky may be overrated as is, his numbers took a huge jump when he was using, maybe it was mental and it not a moral stand it is a club house chemistry thing I know you can not but it in stats, but sometimes it makes a difference, and as long as he can buy into the Phillies club house that would make a difference if you sign him or not.

    • schmenkman

      October 29, 2012 at 12:40 am

      ‘his numbers took a huge jump when he was using,”

      I may have missed this, but do we know that he wasn’t using before 2011?

      • EricL

        October 29, 2012 at 2:52 am

        No, we don’t, but that won’t stop the morality police from just writing off all his good years as steroid enhanced.

        Little will you hear mentioned that Melky’s best years also happen to coincide with him entering his peak performance years (26-28), which I think is just as valid a reason for his recent success as is the PED possibility.

        Even a bad version of Melky is better than JMJ, probably better than Laynce Nix (Nix has more power, Melky will get on base more often), and likely Schierholtz although he’s still a bit of an unknown quantity. Nate might be a good option or he might have a huge L/R platoon split which prevents him from being an every day player.

        Either way, if you can get Melky anywhere near what that article supposed (which I doubt), I think it would be an absolute steal and a mistake not to do it.

      • hk

        October 29, 2012 at 7:20 am

        @ EricL,

        I’d sooner see them pass and allocate the money – unless it’s for one year and < $3M – to a position of greater need as Melky is no longer a CF. My concerns about the past two seasons have nothing to do with PED's and everything to do with BABIP's (.332 in 2011 and .379 in 2012, raising his career BABIP to .309) and UZR's. While his increased power may be here to stay, if his BABIP's regress, he projects as a bad fielding LF from whom we can expect a wOBA of ~.340. Of course, RAJ paid Ibanez $33M for 3 years of that type of production, so one year at < $3M would be a steal by comparison.

      • George

        October 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

        If he was using before 2011, then the test procedure is more seriously flawed than I thought. Do they only conduct tests every few years, or are the tests themselves inconclusive?

        The indications in a perfect test world would be that 2012 was his first year of use, but that doesn’t explain his superior numbers in 2011. (Of course, they may have been legitimate.)

        Something has always seemed amiss to me with the tests, and maybe people are putting too much emphasis on some stray numbers. That fake website says more to me about Melky’s ethics than any drug tests does. That was a definite cheap, self-serving move, and I think that the “magnanimous” declining of the batting title was also just a cheap, self-serving attempt to regain some lost brownie points.

      • hk

        October 29, 2012 at 11:56 am

        @ George,

        My assumption is that the fake website speaks more to Melky’s agent’s ethics than Melky’s. I assume that the idea was the agent’s and that they may have even done it without Melky’s knowledge. I haven’t really read much about the website and there may be evidence disproving my assumption.

        Speaking of cheating and morals and ethics, where do those who are anti-PED’s and commenting here feel about Mike Schmidt and the other greats of that era using illegal amphetamines to help them perform better when they were run down or beat up?

      • Lefty

        October 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm

        hk- I already wrote this above-

        “And before you make the amphetamine argument , Mike Schmidt and many of his teammates took “greenies” before being banned, but they were apparently available to all players, because during that time the practice was “wink wink” allowed by team officials.”

        In other words, a level playing field, which is all I want anyway.

      • hk

        October 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

        @ Lefty,

        I missed your comment above, so thanks for copying it. Having read it, I’m trying to understand your stance. Are you saying that, it was an even playing field because illegal (in the US, if not in MLB) greenies were available to all players, even though some chose to obey the law and not use them while others chose to use them? If that’s what you are saying, how is this different than the situation with PED’s? If not, please clarify.

      • George

        October 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

        HK: We’re all assuming.

        I will say this, though: Cabrera didn’t have to hire, then listen to, a scum agent.

      • Lefty

        October 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm

        hk, Yes.
        I believe it’s different because MLB did not ban the use of amphetamines until 2006. MLB has made it clear that PED’s are banned now, and since 2006 so are “greenies”. But in the days Mike Schmidt played, they were not officially banned (or sanctioned) by MLB. Any player could use them, and most did. According to the link below, If they didn’t go out drinking the night before a game, they might consider playing “naked” (no greenies) now and then, but IMO the playing field was level.

        As far as federal law, I’m not the morality “police” EricL refers to above. If baseball did not have rules about amphetamine use, and players used them, I believe that is different than using stated banned substances like present day PED’s.

        Today only a percentage of players (who knows what that number is) are willing to cross that line, back in the 70’s there was no line to cross. To me that’s the difference.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/01/sports/baseball/01greenies.html?pagewanted=all

      • hk

        October 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm

        @ Lefty,

        Thanks, I get it now. I thought you were saying that the playing field was level because ALL players used greenies not that the playing field was level because all players had the option to use greenies.

  8. Joey Spagna

    October 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    They better not get this druggie prick. He will CHASE away all the hot PA hineys that go to Citizens Bank Park. I bet he can’t get any hot women even though he is a MLB player. Keep doin yer drugs Milkie. You are a second rate AAA player without the juice. You are also a prick.

  9. Ken Bland

    October 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    The news that John Boggs will be Shane Victorino’s new agent calls for a game of Connect the Dots. One thing that headlined it’s way out of his representing Cole Hamels was how he’d kept Tony Gwynn in San Diego his whole career, and the way the summer developed, he’s on his way to doing the same with Hamels. Although he played elsewhere before, and since, the belief here is convictionally that Vic still wants to be a Phillie, and selection of Boggs doesn’t do anything to hinder that cause. By now, I have no doubt Vic has realized his newspaper use to mention 13 mil over the summer is as relavant as the Detroit Tigers. One thing fior sure. Twill be interesting to see where Vic lands. He’s as effective a player as most any of the OFers being bandied about. And at the end of the day, perhaps as cost effective.

  10. Nick at PSU

    October 30, 2012 at 3:20 am

    First off to all the self righteous know it alls who would rather see the likes of Victorino for 7-8 a year or Michael Bourne for around 12-15 before even considering Melky, you are INSANE. Melky is only 28 years old! 28! He was the best hitter in the NL next to maybe Ryan Braun this year when he was playing and could be had at an incredible discount while he enters the prime of his career! Sure, he may have been a fourth Outfeilder in NY when he was in his EARLY 20’s playing in NY but the past two years he has been great and I 100% believe that his incline was due much more to his progression as a hitter as he gets older than to his steroid use. He’s going to be out to prove himself and everybody else this year that this past season was no fluke and will be on his best behavior to show he is maturing not only as a ball player but as a person and teammate. I would be ecstatic if we sign him at a discount because we will have money to fill other holes or even get another big name Outfeilder with the money were saving. People are dangerous when they have something to prove especially when they get a second chance and I love seeing guys who fall down only to come back even stronger. Give the kid a chance I think he would really benefit playing with core of established veterans we have as well as playing under a lax manager in Charlie who is going to let him do his thing. Also doesn’t hurt that he would be around another young Latino ball player who just made the same mistake giving way to a level of comfort of having the guy next to you going through the same thing together. People make mistakes, it’s how you learn from that mistake that defines you, let’s get Melky on board, sign a RF and bring back Madsom on a cheap 1 year deal with a club option as the vet set up man we desperately need. Go Phila

    • George

      October 30, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Not all the negatives regarding Cabrera have been self-righteous. HK, for instance, expresses concern about his ability to continue as a center fielder and a change of his good luck on balls in play. Others have looked at early scouting reports projecting him as a fourth outfielder. Two good years may be signs of an emerging talent; they may, however, be signs of a little juice.

      The character issue can be looked at both ways, of course. Melky could, indeed, attempt to re-prove his character and abilities, and play hard. He could try too hard, too, and fall flat on his face. Or he could also wind up like Manny Ramirez, who cheated more than once, despite his teammates. His issues could even prove to be a clubhouse distraction.

      To me, all these things have to be weighed. So far, I think the balance is tipped in the wrong direction. The Phils need a guaranteed outfield performer, not a big risk.

      • hk

        October 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm

        Agreed…..unless the price is so cheap (let’s say 1 year at ~$2.5M) that the limited downside makes it worthwhile to sign him.

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