Melky Cabrera Rumors
Four teams have at least a 98% chance of reaching the postseason this year, according to Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds Report. The Yankees, Rangers, Nationals and Reds look like playoff teams now, but they all saw what happened to the Braves and Red Sox last year, so I doubt any contending teams intend on coasting from this point on. Here are today’s links...
- The chances that Melky Cabrera will appear in a potential postseason game or re-sign with the Giants this offseason are "close to nil," according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters, including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that the team wouldn't attempt to retain Juan Cruz if he clears waivers (Twitter link). The Bucs have younger players who have passed Cruz, according to Hurdle. Cruz was designated for assignment earlier today.
- The Red Sox "weren't trying very hard" to trade Josh Beckett before the non-waiver trade deadline, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The Rangers and Braves are believed to be among the teams that spoke to Boston's executives about Beckett, Heyman writes. One unnamed GM said "Boston's first priority has to be to trade Josh Beckett'' this August. Another executive suggested the Rangers could make sense for Beckett, who would have to be placed on waivers to be traded this month.
- The Cardinals signed 16-year-old right-hander Ronald Medrano, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Medrano has touched 90-91 mph with his fastball and has shown good feel for his secondary pitches. He had been considered one of the top Nicaraguan prospects available, according to Badler.
- Nationals first rounder Lucas Giolito re-injured his pitching elbow and will be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, ESPN.com's Keith Law reports. Giolito, who was at one point a candidate to be selected first overall, signed for $2.925MM after the Nationals drafted him 16th overall in June.
A pivotal battle between two division rivals in the midst of a playoff race took 19 innings to complete as the Pirates beat the Cardinals by the score of 6-3. Pedro Alvarez gave Pittsburgh the lead in the top of 19th when he hit a solo shot against Barret Browning. The Pirates took the three-game series with the win and would be headed to the playoffs if the season ended today as the second Wild Card.
Here's the latest news and headlines from around the National League...
- With the Braves set to play one more series against the Nationals after this week's showdown, Atlanta realizes the importance of making up ground in D.C. starting on Monday, writes Andrew Simon of MLB.com. The Braves have a comfortable hold on the top Wild Card spot but have played well enough to make a run at the division only to be matched win-for-win by Washington. "We have the opportunity to take advantage because it seems like every time we win, they win and they don't lose very often," said Freddie Freeman. "So this is our time to try to take control of things and get a little closer."
- Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson, a free agent after the season, would like to remain in D.C. on a deal longer than the one-year contract he signed in February, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. "Anything more than one year," Jackson said. "It would be nice to settle down for more than one year, for sure. I would like to [stay]. I could see myself being a part of [the Nationals], but at the end of the day, it's up to ownership."
- The battle against performance-enhancing drugs remains an uphill struggle for Major League Baseball, opines Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Rosenthal suggests Melky Cabrera's actions reflect a desperate person willing to resort to desperate actions as he may have viewed PEDs as the lone way to salvage his career. While there may be less users in baseball as compared to a decade ago, players are still abusing the system and reaping the benefits that Cabrera enjoyed for almost a full season, if not longer.
On this day in baseball history in 1957, Giants president Horace Stoneham violated baseball's protocol for announcements about teams relocating to new cities by failing to wait until after the World Series. Stoneham cited declining attendance to the press as to why the Giants were headed to San Francisco to play their home games for the following season. The team's board of directors approved the move by the vote of 8-1 with M. Donald Grant casting the lone dissenting vote. Grant would later go on to become the chairman of the expansion Mets.
Here's the latest news and headlines from around the league...
- Melky Cabrera's suspension ensures that the beleaguered outfielder won't see the field again until the playoffs, but that doesn't mean he can't win the NL batting title, writes Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com. Doyel suggests MLB commissioner Bud Selig should intervene and prevent Cabrera from receiving the award if he finishes the season with the highest batting average in the league. Andrew McCutchen currently leads the NL with a .356 average entering Sunday's action as compared to Cabrera's .346 mark with 43 games to go.
- The Mets may have a trade partner for Johan Santana this offseason if the left-hander can regain the strong form he's occasionally displayed this season, opines Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Martino looks at the Dodgers as a possible fit for the former two-time Cy Young winner given their newly-minted deep wallets. With Santana guaranteed over $25MM next season, the Mets may elect to keep their struggling ace rather than pay $20MM to watch him pitch for another team.
- Bobby Valentine never had a chance as the manager of the Red Sox given the state of the franchise from top to bottom, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. When Boston brought Valentine aboard to replace Terry Francona this offseason, it was getting a brilliant baseball mind who could identify talent at an expert level but was prone to a soap opera from time to time. As Heyman puts it, the Red Sox never should have hired Valentine if they were just going to cut his vocal chords mere months later in the wake of the Kevin Youkilis incident.
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.