Apr 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) celebrates their victory with center fielder Colby Rasmus (28) and right fielder Jose Bautista (19) against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Astros 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Toronto Blue Jays Re-sign Melky Cabrera?

As a baseball and Toronto Blue Jays fan, we are all well aware of Melky Cabrera‘s tainted past and his struggles in 2013. We are also aware that Cabrera has been on fire for most of the first 2 months of 2014. As of May 22nd, Melky Cabrera is in the Top 10 in the AL in runs (4th), hits (1st), triples (tied for 10th), and batting average (4th). So far in 2014 Melky Cabrera has been everything that Alex Anthopoulos hoped for when he signed him to a 2-year/$8 million dollar contract in the 2012 off-season.

Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus will be a free agents at year end and the Jays run the risk of losing 2/3 of their current outfield if they don’t re-sign them. I am not sure what type of budget AA will have to work with this offseason, I guess it depends on how the rest of 2014 goes. Will Rogers be willing to increase the budget to re-sign both players if the Jays make the playoff and make some noise…..who knows, but let’s forget the stats for a moment and look at the body of work these two guys have produced throughout their careers with a very elementary analysis.

 Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Melky Cabrera (29 yrs old) is a decent LF who hits for average, can knock out 15-20 home runs, will strike out about as much as he will walk, and will put the ball in play more often than not. Whereas, Colby Rasmus (27 years old) is a future gold glover at a premium position in CF, is a low average hitter with the ability to hit 20+ home runs, will likely strike out 20-30% of the time a year but walks about the same amount as Melky.

If  healthy, Melky Cabrera could be an important piece at the top of the Toronto Blue Jays batting order for years to come, plus at 30 years old, Cabrera still has some prime years ahead of him. Colby Rasmus at 27 years old is just entering his prime year and it is still possible that he reaches the potential that saw Baseball America rank him as the 3rd best prospect in 2009. Unfortunately, Rasmus has proven to be a very streaky hitter and is subject to prolonged cold spells….but when he is hot he is a feared power hitter. Before going on the DL last week, Rasmus had hit 4 home runs in his previous 10 games and was batting .289  during that stretch. Power at the CF position is a very difficult commodity to find and Rasmus is that type of commondity. Despite having 30 less at-bats than Carlos Gomez and Charlie Blackmon, Rasmus’ 9 home runs tie him with Blackmon  and one behind Gomez.

To add another wrinkle to this situation, Anthony Gose has been making the most of  the regular at-bats and reps he has received in Colby Rasmus’s absence. In limited action Gose has shown improved plate discipline and ability to lay down a bunt. Gose’s speed is game changing, even if his stolen base number over the past 2 year have been unimpressive. If Gose continues to take walks, see pitches, lay down a bunt hit or sacrifice, and provide speed in CF, than re-signing Colby Rasmus is less of a priority.

If I were the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays I would re-sign Melky Cabrera over Colby Rasmus because he is more consistent. Cabrera has more productive at-bats than Rasmus. I don’t think Rasmus will be able to replicate his 2013 BABIP of .356 ever again , where as, Melky Cabrera has consistently shown an ability to produce BABIP of +.300.

At the end of the day it will come down to dollars and cents and term. If AA lets Melky Cabrera get to the end of the season without re-signing him what would Cabrera be able to command on the open market with clean bill of health and no PED suspension hanging over his head. If Rasmus has another 20+ home run season and provide gold glove calibre defence, can Rasmus demand Adam Jones type money (6 year/ $85.5 million). More importantly will Rogers be willing to pay it.


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Tags: Anthony Gose Colby Rasmus Melky Cabrera Toronto Blue Jays

  • jays4life77

    Absolutely they should try and re-sign the Melk Man….he is a consistent force atop the order, has a good eye, a bit of pop and can play decent enough defense to not be a liability. Plus the guy is 29 with some good years ahead of him. He is proving when he is healthy he is a very good hitter that the PED’s is a thing of the past and he can perform without them very nicely. I think signing Cabrera is a must if this team is serious about making a prolonged go of it. If not then who plays LF? If they wont give melky some cash then no free agent coming who could be better. Might as well blow it up and deal Bautista and EE if they cant afford to keep players who are either in their prime or coming into it. Sign Melky, re-sign Colby if it’s not crazy money as well because i just don’t trust Gose just yet.

    • RyanMueller

      I agree that Melky is in his prime and is what the jays need at the top of the lineup. I think that signing Melky is better than signing Rasmus because this team needs to change its culture of swing for the fences every at-bat. Rasmus has too many unproductive at-bats and Melky doesn’t.
      Thanks for the comment and comment often.

      • jays4life77

        I agree Colby is very streaky and strike out prone, however when hot he is unbelievable to watch. Plays an amazing center field as always even when his game is off. I understand gose plays great maybe even better then colby defensively but im just not sold on gose being able to hit or play everyday. He strikes out way to often, doesnt use his speed to his advantage and just doesnt get on base. He is ok right now (very small sample) but his AAA numbers bear out the fact he just is not a productive hitter as of yet. Hopefully he changes and can be that guy if not maybe pillar and re-signing rasmus isnt a priority which possibly allows us to deal colby for a starter or a middle infielder. Just a thought….

  • JaysHopeful

    I wonder if Melky could take up 1B in the off-season in a similar sorta move to that of Carlos Santana. That would open some possibilities in the OF for keeping Colby AND Gose. Or maybe look to transitioning Bautista to 1B; he has some experience there (and he will be 34 next year). I like Pillar a lot and can see a role for him in the future as well.

    I also think that committing to Colby entails having the expectation that he is a #6 or 7 hitter, who “supports” a lineup and is good for 20 HRs, but you’re really getting him for his defense. So, I’d be cautious as to his price-tag. I don’t see him as an Adam Jones or Carlos Gomez, which is totally cool as long as his salary reflects that.

    Reyes is looking great speed-wise, but over the next few seasons they may have to look at moving him to 2B to get the most of his range, and move him to #2 in the batting order as well. So there is a role for a lead-off man in Gose if he maintains a solid OBP, and continues studying SBs with Tim Raines, (and Reyes).

    I think the future is looking decent for the Jays. For me there is still the question of getting a solid middle-infielder for the future (no offense to Goins or Tolleson). And I do think Lind is too expensive for what he is – not trying knock on him, but his defense is suspect and his salary is kinda high for a platoon DH.

    • JaysHopeful

      Ps. Really enjoyed this article!

      • RyanMueller

        Thank you JaysHopeful. I really like the idea of moving either Melky or Jose to 1b or even to DH. I am completely against having young players as a DH such as Lind. The DH spot should be used to give aging players a day off from the field. If you had the choice of re-signing either Rasmus or Melky which would you sign. We all know how rogers are with their money.
        Thanks again for the comment.

        • JaysHopeful

          I am a huge sucker for a switch-hitting contact hitter who has productive at bats. And with the potential of Pillar and Gose I think it’s safe to put the money on Melky.

          And from a personality/intangibles standpoint, I am impressed by Melky’s constant desire to play everyday. The guy hobbled around for 620 innings in the OF last season with a tumor on his spine. Even though he was inadequate defensively and it was painful to watch, he wanted to produce for the team. I think that level of scrap is important, especially when you’re headed into the post-season (i.e. Dustin Pedroia’s thumb).

          And, oh yeah on the DH front! Remember when Paul Molitor was our DH? And he was a 20/20 guy at 36?

    • Jay fan since 77

      You’re nuts. EE Is a great first baseman. Don’t resign Rasmus the strike out King. Spend the money on pitching in the offseason and try to resign Melkey.

      • JaysHopeful

        EE is an adequate 1B (fangraphs is less charitable). He has also had a series of issues with his left-wrist throughout his career that I’d be cautious of. He is, however, a phenomenal DH, who can spell at 1B, and I would not think of replacing him. If, however, Melky or Bautista can come in and be better defensively at 1B then that improves the entire IF, and maybe preserves everyone’s health.

        I am generally indifferent to whether they resign Rasmus or not at this point. My concern is overpaying for him or having too high expectations of what he is.

        And I agree with you: pitching is key! Which free agents are you thinking of?

  • wayker1

    What’s the story on Ricky Romero? Have the Jay’s given up on him?

    • Jay fan since 77

      Can’t stop walking players. Very unfortunate but he is finished as a major leaguer. He was. My favourite Jay and it hurts to say it.

  • bob l.

    yes, resign melky . let rasmus walk and give the cf job to gose. I think melky should stay in lf and have pillar as the 4th outfielder. maybe look in to trading lind and have Francisco become the fulltime dh so that lawrie can stay at 3rd.

    • Andrew van Laar

      I like that scenario, as much as I like Lind (always had a soft spot for him) if Fransisco is the real deal, there is a log jam and someone will have to move.

  • Jensan

    Yes resign melky, trade Colby for a starting pitcher

  • Ikarn Johal

    100% agree with the author. Colby will be able to command Adam Jones/BJ Upton type money. I don’t think thats a good investment considering his k% and streakiness. Gose will be able to step in. Melky on the other hand has been able to provide the Jays with some consistency and with the Dominican connection in the jays clubhouse, I’m sure he will be willing to negotiate a fair price to stay.