You know the story by now. Melky Cabrera was busted for PED use this summer, tried to skirt his 50-game suspension by building a fake supplement supply website, and then walked out on his Giants teammates without apologizing or saying goodbye after his plan was foiled. But he’s very talented. And that’s all that really matters this winter to MLB clubs looking to improve their odds of success in 2013.
According to national baseball columnist Joel Sherman of the New York Post, “at least five teams” have expressed interest in the free agent outfielder over the past couple of weeks. The Phillies and Mets have already been suggested as potential suitors.
Carbera batted .346/.390/.516 with 11 home runs and 60 RBI in 113 testosterone-aided games this season for the eventual World Series champions. The 28-year-old Dominican owns a .284/.338/.414 career slash.
If the reported level of interest is real, Melky should do a little better than a one-year “prove-it” deal.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.