The Toronto Blue Jays have a fairly extensive shopping list during the 2012-2013 offseason. While their primary needs stand firmly on the pitching mound, specifically an ace for the staff (ahem, Zack Greinke), there are also other roles needed.
Included in the aformentioned shopping list is the need to add a left fielder. While power would be great, it will come at a premium on this year’s market, which is bereft of such a trait, outside of Josh Hamilton.
However, one intriguing name will be Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera is coming off perhaps one of the strangest suspension cases in the history of the game. His 50 game suspension after a positive test for synthetic testosterone was only made more interesting by the covert cover-up where his handlers set-up a fake website in order to circumvent the system.
Cabrera is intriguing because no one is quite sure what to expect his market to be. His suspension and acts immediately afterward have likely affected his price and the market will be soft for his services. Teams will be scared off for character issue reasons and rightfully so.
However, for a team like the Blue Jays, who have a notable hole to fill, this could be the opportunity to do so on the cheap, allowing them to use their available salary for more pressing needs, like the starting rotation.
Regardless of character issues, Cabrera is coming off of back-to-back .300 seasons and is a legitimate top of the order hitter and could benefit from playing in a hitter’s park like Rogers Centre. Plugging him into the lead-off or number-two hole in the line-up ahead of Bautista and Encarnacion could enable the Jays to move Colby Rasmus into a more productive spot in the order as well.
As for the character issues, Cabrera has already begun putting them behind him. His move to vacate the batting title was a decent gesture, even if it was for the sole purpose of propping up his free agent market. Putting him on a team with fellow Dominicans Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, both of whom have shown a growth in regards to leadership skills.
At 28-years-old, Cabrera has a few seasons to atone for his past mistakes. The Blue Jays could benefit from making a low-risk, high-reward type deal with a player who suddenly has a need to prove himself.