Sep 5, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) winces after swinging at a pitch against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning at Fenway Park. Cabrera would be taken out of the game. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
I woke up this morning to see the Blue Jays winning streak had ended with a 1oth inning loss in Boston. I am holding out hope that they can still make a late push for one of the final play off spots. I know, I know it’s probably a pipe dream. But then, I saw THIS. And read the game recap from Jays Journal’s Brandon Nickel. For what feels like the hundredth time this season, my hope turned to despair. This news is certainly not the breaking point of the Blue Jays season. That happened long ago. But, it may just be the final shovel full of dirt that buries 2014.
Cabrera is now set for surgery and recovery. No more baseball for him in 2014. And, since his contract is up, the Blue Jays have a decision to make. Jays Journal’s Kyle Franzoni gave us a very good outline of said decision already. Considering all of this, there is one question that haunts me: Is this the end of Melky Cabrera‘s time in Toronto?
Since the Blue Jays announced their signing of Melky Cabrera two years ago, there have been mixed opinions. Some thought it was an over pay at first. 2 years and $16M for a PED user?! Really? Then, he played a year. Those doubters turned into an angry mob with torches and pitchforks.
If you’re Melky Cabrera, do you just wake up out of surgery and ink your name to an extension with the Blue Jays? You’d have to still be severely under the effects of the anesthesia if you do.
Watching Melky Cabrera try and hobble around the outfield was like watching an animal die right in front of your eyes. It was brutal. His bat was not much better. But then when we found out that Melky was playing with a tumor, we sheepishly snuffed our torches and said prayers in retrospect.
But, we didn’t know what to expect in 2014 from a healthy MelkMan. If it is possible, 2014 began with more questions surrounding Melky than ever. And, all he has done is answer the questions and silence the critics. In fact, he is putting up similar (if not better) numbers to his 2012 All Star season with the San Francisco Giants. And, he is clean. So there.
Fans are now screaming for Alex Anthopoulos to re-sign Melky as soon as possible, whatever it takes. And, they have a case. He has put up a 3.2 WAR (3.5 oWAR and -0.9 dWAR) which would be difficult to replace with the likes of Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose. He has also been worth 12.1 WPA+ (Wins Probability Added).
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Think Gose and Pillar can produce that? Melky exits this season with some notable MLB rankings. He is 15th in average (.301), 2nd in hits (171), 12th in doubles (35), 17th in runs (81) and 10th in games played at 139. This kind of consistency will be sorely missed by the Blue Jays.
If you’re Melky Cabrera, do you just wake up out of surgery and ink your name to an extension with the Blue Jays? You’d have to still be severely under the effects of the anesthesia if you do. Melky would be wise to parlay the 2014 season into a lucrative contract. If I’m his agent, I tell Melky to wait. Of course, the danger is waiting too long (see Stephen Drew et al).
Nevertheless, the idea of Melky not playing in Toronto next season is a real one. Even though he says this:
Forgive me for being sinical, but the question remains. What if this is it? Will the Blue Jays really feel comfortable going with what Colby Rasmus calls “these young guys”? Rasmus himself has already left town in all but body. Can the Blue Jays make up for two gaping holes in their outfield? As much as second base has been a concern going into and lasting throughout 2104, AA could have more of a problem in 2015.