The Indians announced Monday that outfielder/designated hitter Melky Cabrera has elected free agency rather than accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Columbus. He’d been designated for assignment last week and cleared outright waivers. The 33-year-old veteran switch-hitter will now head back to the open market in search of a new opportunity.
Cabrera, who’d signed a minor league deal with Cleveland in late April, had his contract selected in May and totaled 66 plate appearances for the Indians, though he managed just a .207/.243/.293 batting line in that small sample of work.
It should be noted, of course, that Cabrera didn’t have a full Spring Training and only logged 42 plate appearances in Triple-A before joining the big league club. It’s not especially surprising then, to see some rust at the plate after a fairly limited amount of time to ramp up.
Cabrera is only a year removed from providing roughly league-average offense at the big league level. In 666 plate appearances between the White Sox and Royals last season, Cabrera slashed .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers, 30 doubles and a pair of triples — good for a 99 OPS+ and a 98 wRC+. And, from 2014-17, Cabrera racked up 2616 plate appearances between the Blue Jays, White Sox and Royals, hitting a combined .289/.333/.431 in that time (110 OPS+). While he’s no longer a threat on the bases and doesn’t provide much value with the glove, his track record could earn him an opportunity to land on a big league roster with another organization, though he may once again have to earn that opportunity with a Triple-A stint.