Melky Cabrera unlikely to sign long-term extension with Royals

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General manager Dayton Moore told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com that the Royals are unlikely to sign Melky Cabrera to a long-term contract extension because the 27-year-old outfielder wants to test free agency following next season:

We’ll probably go a year at a time at this point, but he was a terrific player for us and we’re very proud of what he accomplished and we’d be very open to Melky being here long term. But I don’t see anything right now. I think he’s at a point in his career where he wants to look at things. He’s just a year away from free agency.

Cabrera had a very strong season, setting career-highs in batting average (.305), homers (18), doubles (44), RBIs (82), runs (109), steals (20), and OPS (.809). However, he’s just one year removed from a miserable season with the Braves and came into 2011 as a career .267 hitter with a .707 OPS. In other words, Cabrera might be doing the Royals a favor by not wanting to sign an extension coming off his best year.

He’ll get a big raise on this year’s $1.25 million salary via arbitration, but if the Royals still want to keep Cabrera long term he’ll likely be cheaper to sign after next season even if they have to out-bid other teams for him on the open market.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.