MLB execs think Phillies and Mets will try for Melky Cabrera

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Melky Cabrera’s impending free agency should be rather interesting. The 28-year-old outfielder posted a spectacular .346/.390/.516 slash line with 11 homers and 60 RBI in 113 games this season for the Giants, but that was before he got busted for PED use and then tried to dupe MLB authorities by funding the construction of a fake supplement website.

The general consensus is that Cabrera will have to settle for a one-year “prove it” deal to reestablish his value in the league. Now it’s a matter of finding out which teams will be open to giving him a shot.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke with several major league executives who guessed that the Mets and Phillies will be in the running this winter. There’s also a belief that the Giants might try to re-sign Cabrera because Angel Pagan is set to hit the open market and could command something hefty.

The Yankees can probably be ruled out because Melky won’t want to be a part-time player.

Cabrera, a native of the Dominican Republic, owns a .284/.338/.414 career batting line.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉