Jobu ponders the age old question of second chances.
This post might rouse some rabble with a lot of Yankees fans, but I think it’s an idea that must be explored in one way or another. With the impending free agency of Nick Swisher, should the Yankees look at possibly bringing back Melky Cabrera to play right field for 2013?
Pardon me as I duck under the rotten vegetables being thrown at me by my readers right now (who let you guys in here with those anyway?). As many of you know, Melky Cabrera, a guy the Yankees got rid of a couple of years ago, was recently suspended for 50 games for taking performance enhancing drugs. A couple of days after we covered the topic (here), the news broke that Melky and his entourage had attempted to dupe Major League Baseball by buying a website and installing ads for a fake supplement on it so that they could later blame the product for his suspension. It’s all very Eric Cartman, but that’s the way it went down.
That being said, Melky has really transformed himself into a solid player the last couple of seasons. He was suspended this year, when he became a real superstar, but his first next level breakthrough came in 2011 with the Kansas City Royals. Melky ended up hitting .305/.339/.470 with 18 home runs and 87 RBI for KC, which got him dealt to San Francisco prior to this season. One would think that, if Melky had been doping for all of the last two seasons, he would have failed a test sooner, no? Why did it take him until 2/3 of 2012 to go by before he was finally pinched?
The Yankees never really doubted Melky’s talent or hitting ability. The problem in his first run with the Yankees was his conditioning and his mental preparation and execution, not so much that he didn’t have the talent. That’s why, when he broke out just a couple of years later, nobody who really knew the Yankees should have been that surprised. We all thought hey, he finally got his shit together and it paid off.
The problem now is that this has become an impossible riddle to solve. Did Melky get good and take PEDs to make him great for his contract season, or are PEDs solely responsible for his new found success? Someone’s going to have to find out in 2013, so why not us?
The Yankees have stood by the fact that they need to drop payroll by 2014. Nick Swisher is a free agent, and will probably cost them $8-10 MM dollars over three or four years to bring back. Melky’s value is at an all-time low. In July, he was looking at a free agency deal worth possibly $60MM. Now, he’s most likely going to have to take a much smaller one year deal to prove that he can be successful without the enhancers. If Brian Cashman brings back Melky, he can probably get him for $6-7 MM on a one year deal.
On top of that, he’d be back home with his best friend (Robinson Canó) and his ex-mentor (A-Rod), and those are two guys that may be able to keep him focused and under control. I know A-Rod is an odd guy to suggest as a role model for a player that has been suspended for PEDs, but things have changed the last few seasons.
I’m not saying this is a no-brainer, slam dunk decision, but it’s hard to argue that this isn’t worth exploring, right? If Melky can’t cut it without the PEDs, a trade could always be made for another right fielder, or perhaps the Yankees could finally give Ronnier Mustelier a chance to do something at the big league level. Either way, you’d be bringing down the payroll and keeping right field warm until the next crop of free agents in 2014.
For those of you who don’t think he has a place in the game at all because of his suspensions, get your heads out of the sand. Bringing back Melky would definitely be a calculated risk, but the payout could be huge. He definitely has something to prove. Just don’t let him go to the pharmacy by himself.
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