Non-Tender Candidate: Melky Cabrera

Braves outfielder Melky Cabrera will be eligible for arbitration for the third time as a Super Two this winter. He's earning $3.1MM this year; will the Braves tender him a contract and potentially give him a raise for 2011?

Cabrera, 26, started off very slowly this year but has come around of late, and is hitting .260/.319/.370 in 422 plate appearances. Capable of playing all three outfield spots, UZR grades him out as below average in center and basically average in the corners.

Part of the deal that sent Javier Vazquez to the Yankees, Cabrera essentially fits the profile of the fourth outfielder yet has been thrust into full-time duty over the last several seasons. He won a World Series ring with New York last season, but I suspect the Braves won't care too much when making a decision on whether or not to tender Cabrera a contract for 2011 in December. This is Melky's third time through the arbitration process as a Super Two, so whatever salary he receives this season will impact his 2012 compensation as well. 

Melky received a rather generous $1.7MM raise last winter, more than doubling his 2010 salary. That, however, was coming off the best season of his career, in which he hit .274/.336/.416 with a career best 13 homers. He and his agent shouldn't expect a similar raise this time around with a sub-.700 OPS and a career low four long balls. Even if he were to take a modest $400K raise to $3.5MM, it's not terribly difficult to find outfielders more productive than him at that cost, especially in today's market. We also have to consider Nate McLouth's $6.5MM salary for next season, since the Braves might not want to spend upwards of $10MM on a pair of below average outfielders.

With all that in mind, it's time for you to weigh in. Click here to vote on whether or not Cabrera will be non-tendered, and here to see the results.

43 Responses to Non-Tender Candidate: Melky Cabrera Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    Didn’t think Melky was a non-tender candidate, but if he is, The Yankees should sign him because I miss John Sterling saying his home run call!

    • HTF 5 years ago

      That would require him hitting a ball far enough to go over the fence. Not likely. If we tender him a contract I’m finding a new team.

  2. Chad Sexington 5 years ago

    I was always a Melky fan, but I don’t see the Yankees bringing him back. I’m sure they love Cano’s development sans Melky and probably don’t want to rock the boat.

  3. jwredsox 5 years ago

    Don’t bring back Melky Yankees. Cano will probably go back to being lazy and not one of the best 2B in the league! Remember it was all Melky’s fault.

  4. grafe 5 years ago

    I don’t really see Melky getting cut, the main reason is because I think they’ll make a decision between Diaz and Melky and while I’d rather have Diaz, I love the guy, Melky can play all three positions and will hopefully be the fourth outfielder next season. The main thing I could see them doing is putting Infante in left field to get Chipper, Prado, and Infante all in the lineup and with a right handed bat in left Diaz becomes expendable. I don’t really want Infante to be a full time starter next year since he’s been really lucky this year (I think his BABIP is around 400), but if the power he’s been showing lately is for real maybe he can sustain around an 800 ops next season

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Diaz could also play below average center field, so i don’t think the “he plays three positions” is even a remotely good argument for a team that desperately needs offense and money. There’s simply no way to argue for this team keeping Melky… or cutting Diaz. The Braves need Diaz’s production. He hammers lefties, and the team overall does not hit lefties as well as righties.I agree Melky’s not a bad fourth outfielder, but, for what he brings, he’s an expensive piece for the Braves and doesn’t really improve the team for next season.

      • grafe 5 years ago

        Can he? I’ve never seen him play in center, just left and right. I do hope you’re right, I think Diaz would be more valuable but the Braves (or at least Bobby Cox) seem to think Diaz is a bad defender despite the stats saying otherwise seeing as Diaz is always pulled for a defensive replacement around the 7th inning.

        • Guest 5 years ago

          i wrote “below average center field”, the point being neither one of them are particularly great at that position.the overall point i was making is that Melky is a fourth outfielder whose production could be matched at a lower price tag. if someone else can do the same thing for less, then why waste money that could, and should, be used elsewhere… where it’s needed. the fourth outfielder role is not going to be the team’s biggest need this offseason.

          • grafe 5 years ago

            I didn’t mean anything by that, I was just wondering if he’d played there before. I’m not saying what I think they should do, I’m saying what I think they will do, I’d much rather have Diaz platooning with McLouth (if they don’t manage to dump him on someone) in center but I don’t think they’d want him playing in center that often since they think he’s a bad defender. If they put Infante back into his utility role then yeah I can definitely see them keeping him over Melky, but if they put him in left field I don’t think they’ll keep Diaz. Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough before

          • grafe 5 years ago

            Ahhhh never mind, I thought it was saying he’d probably 3 million this year in arbitration, not that he WAS making 3 million

          • Guest 5 years ago

            He’s played 6 innings at center, but he won’t play center if there are any other options. The team won’t even consider him as regular option there. It’d be strictly an emergency option. He’ll primarily be a left fielder (possibly platooned) that may see some time in right on occasion.

            I’m not sure where this talk of Diaz playing center came from, but I see what you’re saying in the second to last sentence. If Infante plays every day it might have to be in left, which is diaz’s spot. overall, it’ll be interesting to see how they address the outfield next year. changes need to be made.

            the one outfield spot that most desperately needs to be addressed is center, and at this point i dont think the braves will give serious consideration to anyone currently with the organization, meaning a trade is likely. i think this also means that for now, anyways, diaz doesnt have reason to sweat his job… but i guess that could change.

          • austinhb 5 years ago

            I dont see them tendering a contract for either, granted diaz has done a lot for the team, but neither of them are worth the raises they will get, with an added few mil the braves can go get a true left fielder. And for the amount of money Mclouth is getting paid i dont see them not giving him another shot, because he has the potential to be a 20//20 guy with good defense, just have to get his swing back

          • Guest 5 years ago

            That’s an entirely reasonable scenario, but this is an organization that has had a very clear need for a true left-fielder for years now and has been content to do very little about it. That’s really the only reason I think Diaz will be back (that and I selfishly love to watch the guy hustle every single game). But, yea, if they got someone close to a Jayson Werth, then I wouldn’t really care.As far as McLouth goes, I think they’ll give him a chance at some point. They kind of have to. No one’s going to take him. However, I think if you asked Wren off-the-record if he expects McLouth to be our center-fielder every day next season, I’d have to think he’d respond with a confident “No”. The guy has seriously fallen off a cliff. But I’m sure the Braves would love for him to start hitting again.

          • Guest 5 years ago

            I doubt they’re banking on McLouth turning it around, in other words and I’m expecting for them to be prepared for the possibility that he doesn’t.

          • grafe 5 years ago

            Yeah definitely, it’ll be tough to dump McLouth though unless he starts hitting well in September which is unlikely seeing as he can’t even hit in the minors. I think they might just have to run McClouth out there again and hope he remembers how to hit next season

  5. MLB_in_the_Know 5 years ago

    As a Braves fan….god I hope not.

  6. Slopeboy 5 years ago

    Melky was the product of a strong well rounded line-up last year with NY. There he didn’t have to do too much, just play good defense and play within himself. He was fortunate enough to come up with a few walk-off blows and that made him a fan favorite and enhanced his stature.This year he’s tried to be who he’s not in an unfamiliar league and it’s shows.

  7. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Melky was always bad news for the Braves. This isn’t hindsight either. He just is not that good.A 4th outfielder is a great description of what he brings to the table. Versatility in the outfield, won’t kill you with the glove, and a soft bat. The kind of guy that could fill in for extended periods of time and not kill you. But also a bat you don’t want to see penciled in on Opening Day.Guys like Melky are good to have around – but not at $3m+. Good chance that if he is non-tendered the best deal he could score would be in the $1-2m range.

  8. Melky is who I think of when I think of the Replacement in WAR.

    Replacement-level bat, replacement-level defense, replacement-level speed. Only thing anywhere above the level of meh is his throwing arm.

    • Loomer55 5 years ago

      This is pretty much exactly what I was about to say.

  9. laxman1017 5 years ago

    I truly believe he is the one of the worst and most over-hyped players of all time. He is fat, slow, dumb, and looks like Alfonso Soriano and Andruw Jones swinging at a breaking ball. If he gets tendered a contract, I swear to god would be the worst evaluators of talent in the entire world. As a mid-market team the almighty dollar MUST drive our decisions. Can we afford to WASTE 4Mil on a mediocre backup outfielder???? We were forced into the D. Lowe deal, with a lack of pitching…..bad luck with Mclouth falling off the face of the earth…..and bad luck with Chipper going from batting title to elderly as fast as her did. All that equals to money tied up that hamstrings a mid-market baseball team. There is 100% no way that can augment that with paying a guy like Melky. HE MUUUUUUUST be a non-tender. There is no question it makes the most business, competitive, and baseball sense. No question.

  10. Chiesa 5 years ago

    If Melky is a fourth outfielder, Rick Ankiel is a 12th outfielder. I don’t understand how this guy is still a Major Leaguer.

    • bobrewer 5 years ago

      Ankiel, while abysmal at the plate, has an INCREDIBLE arm.

  11. TeamCropDusters 5 years ago

    Melky is a good, major league quality, 4th OF. The Braves relied on him for too much of this season as an everyday player.

  12. drumzalicious 5 years ago

    I think they should actually non-tender Melky and Diaz then just get a full-time Left Fielder. They have plenty of people in the minors who could be 4th Outfielders and compete with Nate in ST for the CF position.

  13. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    You people are insane. Melky will never be a star but to call him a bad player while guys like Hairston, Wynn, etc are still cashing checks is unfair. At .269/.319 he is far from being a bad 4th OF choice. The only mistake you can make is to count on him for 500 at bats. Every player has a point where their price matches up with their value. At $3.5 mil Cabrera is clearly pressing up if not surpassed it. Non-tender him and then try and re-sign him for $2 mil if possible.

  14. $3866193 5 years ago

    Melky ranks 67th in the NL in OPS. Players having “disappointing” seasons, like Pablo Sandoval, are hitting .50 points higher than Melky. He’s a 4th outfielder type making starting outfielder money. He was probably worth the gamble in 2010 (and boy has Javier Vazquez been bad), but not worth it if he’s in line for a raise in 2011.

    • YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

      I definetly can see him being a non-tender candidate and agree he isn’t deserving of a raise he might get in arbitration but seriously… many starting OF not under team control are earning $3.1 mil?

  15. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    Also, I wasn’t going to make this comment but seeing as how it was said in above posts and another post a few days ago I can’t help it. Making a correlation between Melky’s presence and any perceived lack of effort is not only wrong but in my mind almost subtley racist. First off..

    -Melky, if anything, was the epitome of a young player playing with enthusiasm. Never have I witnessed him dogging it or failing to hustle after a ball or failing to run out a play. Yanks fans didn’t love Melky because of his talent but for the fact that he played hard and always had a smile on his face. Trust me, if Melky was seen as a bad influence then the NY media would’ve had a field day with him.

    -Up until this year, last year was Cano’s finest of his career. He had his best year offensively and did a complete 180 in terms of his defense. So really, he had his best year (up to that point) and changed the perception people had of him WITH Melky as his teammate. If anything, people thought that Cano might regress now that Melky WASN’T his teammate.

    -To say that Cano was effected positively or negatively because of Melky, a 4th OF, is an insult to Cano as a professional.

    The only thing Melky may have been guilty of was having too many long and complicated hand shakes. To imply that he was a bad influence on Cano makes you wonder why? What did he do that made him a bad influence? Did he smile too much? Other than being too “ethnic” for some, what was Melky guilty of doing that made him a bad influence on Cano last year? Ridiculous….

  16. Will the Braves non-tender both Cabrera and Diaz?

    • and go after a FA LF with pop? I hope so.

      • abraves10 5 years ago

        i think they will sign melky as the 4th outfielder and go get somebody with pop in left like Jayson Werth (if he is affordable) and if not Xavier Nady possibly.I also think they will resign Lee for one yr/6mil or so and go get somebody as a late inning guy like jesse crain.I do believe Chipper will return from the DL and be effective in a platoon type thing with infante or prado with chipper getting most of the time and also i would love to see the braves go get roger bernadina from the nats for center or coco crisp could be effective if Mclouth isnt able to return to form


        that is a pretty tough lineup to go through with a beast starting rotation already and let venters be your closer

  17. two words, matt young is awesome

  18. jwredsox 5 years ago

    It’s so over the top it is funny!

  19. You’re comment is far stupider.

  20. jwredsox 5 years ago

    Your sarcasm detector is obviously malfunctioning

  21. jwredsox 5 years ago

    haha. Yeah there was an article about Melky a few days ago and people were blaming Melky for Cano’s troubles prior to this year.

  22. Milky is below average & lazy. Would be shocked if some of his bad habits rubbed off on Cano.

    Toronto is a great city & the jays are a good team, oh what punishment!

  23. Devern Hansack 5 years ago

    Well, your comment is pretty stupid.

  24. ellisburks 5 years ago

    Canada is the greatest country in the world. Stable economy, extremely low murder rate, world class education, hot, hot women, and good public health care. I guess it is a hell on earth.

    I agree with the thing about not likeing the Blue Jays though.

  25. inkstainedscribe 5 years ago

    But the 10-month winters? No thanks.

  26. JonATLBraves 5 years ago

    Melky’s choppers are just terrible

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