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Melky Cabrera Rumors
Alfonso Soriano told Theo Epstein & Co. that he would not accept a trade to the Giants when San Francisco showed interest in him prior to the July 31st deadline. The club may have renewed interest in the veteran after Melky Cabrera was hit with a 50-game suspension, but the Cubs outfielder says that he still doesn't think that the Giants would be a good fit for him, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "San Francisco is not good weather to play in. It's on the West Coast and I've never played on the West Coast. We'll see what happens if they call. I'll talk to my family then and see. It's not my call. I know it's 50 percent of my call, but it's my family's [call] too. I'd talk to my family and see what happens," Soriano said. More on Cabrera and the Giants..
- The suspension changes the complexion of the National League West race, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Cabrera theoretically could return to action for the sixth game of the postseason, but it's unlikely that the Giants would leave a roster spot open for him without knowing what he'll be able to contribute.
- Cabrera's sudden turnaround in San Francisco seemed too good to be true, and it turns out that it was, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. It's possible that teams will entirely discount his strong play in 2012 when he's on the open market this winter, but others may seize the opportunity to buy low.
- Cabrera's agents didn't pursue an in-season extension once they were notified of his positive test, Heyman tweets.
- There's no doubt that the Giants heard of Cabrera's positive test at the time they acquired Hunter Pence, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While the official word didn't come out until this afternoon, there were strong whispers of the news in late July.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs opines that Cabrera might have cost himself $60-70MM this winter. Cameron also doesn't see the 28-year-old having many suitors in free agency.
- The Giants appear to be in serious trouble without their star slugger, but that doesn't mean that the Dodgers can rest on their laurels and celebrate, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, reports ESPN's Jorge Arangure (on Twitter). MLB has confirmed both the suspension and that substance was testosterone. The suspension takes effect immediately and will cost him the rest of the season.
"My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used," said Cabrera through a statement, courtesy of Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle (on Sulia). "I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down."
Cabrera, 28, was in the middle of a breakout season and is scheduled to hit free agency this coming winter. Both Melky and the team recently agreed to put contract extension talks on hold. Cabrera hit .346/.390/.516 with 11 homers in 501 plate appearances during his first season in San Francisco, earning him his first All-Star Game nomination.
Ryan Braun was suspended for a failed PED test this past offseason but successfully appealed and did not miss any games. Cabrera will not do the same based on his statement. He was set to hit the open market as one of the most coveted free agents available due to his age and production, but the suspension will surely impact his next contract, perhaps in a real big way.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com confirmed that Cabrera will be eligible to play in the postseason once his suspension is over (Twitter link). He would have to miss his team's first four games, however. The Giants are currently tied atop the NL West with the Dodgers at 64-53.
Here's the latest from the NL West…
- Juan Uribe's time with the Dodgers could be nearing an end, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, as the team will need to open a roster spot with Adam Kennedy due back from the DL this week. Uribe has just a .553 OPS in 459 plate appearances since signing a three-year, $21MM free agent contract before the 2011 season. The Dodgers would have to eat the approximately $10.3MM left on Uribe's deal but Hernandez notes this would hardly be a burden to the club's free-spending new owners.
- Melky Cabrera told reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that he hadn't heard anything from his agent Sam Levinson about tabling extension talks with the Giants until after the season. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area tweets that the two sides "had conceptual talks" about a new contract, so as Schulman speculated, it's possible the discussions never got serious enough for Levinson to bring anything solid to his client.
- Dexter Fowler has played well enough to earn a contract extension, though Troy Renck of the Denver Post thinks the Rockies should wait until midway through next season to explore such a deal just to ensure that Fowler is for real. Fowler is still under team control through the 2015 season and eligible for arbitration three more times as a Super Two player. Fowler is earning $2.35MM this season.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune outlines a few ways that the Padres' prospective new owners can quickly win the favor of San Diego fans.
The Giants and Melky Cabrera have agreed to put contract extension talks on hold until after the season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The team is believed to have suggested a three-year deal worth approximately $27MM a few weeks ago, though no official offer was made.
Cabrera, 27, has indicated a willingness to sign with San Francisco long-term and GM Brian Sabean maintains that there is enough financial flexibility to sign both Melky and Hunter Pence. Cabrera is hitting .353/.399/.530 with 11 homers during a breakout All-Star season, and will become a free agent this winter. He figures to one of the most attractive outfielders on the market give his age and production.
Items out of the AL and NL West..
- Despite their acquisition of Ryan Dempster, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (video link) still has doubts about the Rangers' starting rotation. With Roy Oswalt being less-than-stellar for Texas, the club needs to have Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and Yu Darvish to be exceptional in the second-half.
- Further hurting the Rangers rotation is the news that pitcher Neftali Feliz is out for the season after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament and will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com. General manager Jon Daniels admitted that the club knew about Feliz's injury for a few days but didn't want to say anything until after the deadline.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean said there is flexibility to re-sign both Melky Cabrera and Hunter Pence, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The Giants acquired Pence from the Phillies for right fielder Nate Schierholtz and minor leaguers Seth Rosin and Tommy Joseph.
The Giants' acquisition of Melky Cabrera this offseason has provided a tremendous boost to San Francisco's lineup. Cabrera is hitting .353/.391/.519, and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he would be open to an extension:
“Of course I would. I’m a free agent next (winter), but the fans and Giants’ organization have treated me very well, so I would welcome staying with the Giants.”
According to Shea, Cabrera told his representatives at ACES to let the Giants' front office "know his intention to stick around."
Last month, GM Brian Sabean told reporters that he'd yet to begin extension talks with Cabrera, but that he didn't think Andre Ethier's five-year, $85MM contract was a good comparable. The Melk-Man may not command that large of an investment, but he obviously did well to reject the two-year, $13.5MM extension the Royals offered him last August.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk examined Cabrera's extension candidacy in May, but his stock has risen considerably since that time. Cabrera had a historic month of May, and he currently leads the National League with 119 hits. Fangraphs pegs his value to date at a healthy 3.3 wins above replacement — good for 11th among all MLB outfielders.
Cabrera, who is capable of playing all three outfield positions, would be part of a strong class of free agent center fielders that includes the likes of B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino, and Michael Bourn. Nick Swisher and Carlos Quentin are also set to hit free agency, which should create a buyer's market for teams seeking impact outfielders.
Nick Swisher hits free agency this coming offseason and Curtis Granderson’s contract expires following the 2013 season, so the Yankees face questions about the composition of their outfield at the same time that they're aiming to lower payroll below the $189MM luxury tax threshold. Joel Sherman discusses what he calls a looming outfield deficiency in his latest column at the New York Post. The highlights:
- There is “pretty much zero possibility” the Yankees will retain Swisher if they are serious about lowering payroll below $189MM by 2014, Sherman writes. Swisher has “done a hell of a job” in New York, GM Brian Cashman told Sherman.
- The Yankees’ best outfield prospects still need minor league seasoning. Immediate solutions are “not coming from within,” Cashman said.
- Sherman suggests the Yankees don’t want to reunite with Melky Cabrera, the former Yankee outfielder who’s now enjoying success in San Francisco as he approaches free agency.
- Cashman said the Yankees are not looking to address future outfield issues at the upcoming trade deadline, however. “You would like to have security and a comfort level. But we are not going to find that now, so why worry about it?”
- The Yankees offered Ben Sheets a minor league contract after watching him throw, Sherman reports. The Mets didn’t have interest in Sheets, who signed with the Braves.
Links from around MLB before the season’s final weekend of interleague play begins…
- The Royals announced that right-hander Felipe Paulino has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The 28-year-old will seek a second opinion on his elbow, and could choose to undergo Tommy John surgery. Paulino has a 1.67 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 37 2/3 innings this year.
- Executives from other teams and a few MLB owners are paying attention to the Blue Jays' 2010 draft class, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. The Blue Jays chose upside over certainty under then-scouting director Andrew Tinnish and the results are promising so far.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean said he doesn’t expect to trade for starting pitching help, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes (Twitter links).
- The Giants haven’t started extension talks with Melky Cabrera and the team doesn’t consider Andre Ethier’s five-year, $85MM deal a comparable contract, Sabean said.
The Blue Jays designated Edwin Encarnacion for assignment on this date two years ago, and he cleared waivers two days later once the 29 other MLB teams had passed on him. Encarnacion now has 20 homers and a .283/.351/.574 slash line, so he's making a strong case for inclusion in next month's All-Star Game. Here are today’s links…
- The Rockies would have to be overwhelmed to trade Rafael Betancourt or Matt Belisle, so deals are highly unlikely, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). Teams don't generally view the Rockies as a team with lots of assets to trade, according to Olney.
- The Mets are going to wait a few weeks before "digging into" the trade market, Olney tweets.
- GM Brian Sabean told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the Giants identified Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan as trade targets this past offseason because, in spite of their flaws, they’re both impact MLB players. “We're talking about switch-hitters who can hit almost anywhere in the lineup, play all three outfield positions and help you on both sides of the ball. There's a lot to like," Sabean said. Check out Crasnick’s piece for a detailed look at how the Giants scouted and built their new-look outfield.
- The Blue Jays have been telling teams they can’t take on any salary, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
We learned this morning that the Red Sox are expected to sign first round pick Brian Johnson and that Kevin Youkilis continues to draw some trade interest. Here are more notes from the AL East, starting in New York…
- Melky Cabrera broke out as an All-Star caliber player after the Yankees traded him, but hitting coach Kevin Long told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the switch-hitting outfielder has always had star potential. “If Melky committed himself to the Yankees as he does now, he would still be a Yankee,” Long said.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Sherman he considers Eduardo Nunez a shortstop. Nunez, who has been sidelined since May with a thumb injury, "does not profile as an outfield guy," Cashman said.
- Jamie Moyer can opt out of his contract with the Orioles in the next few days if the team doesn’t select his contract from Triple-A, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports (on Twitter). The 49-year-old left-hander has a 1.69 ERA with a 16K/0BB ratio in three starts at Triple-A.