Tag: Melky Cabrera

Grand Hyatt

What to watch for at the 2014 Winter Meetings


SAN DIEGO — Greetings from beautiful southern California. Where the weather is gorgeous and the speculation about free agents and trade possibilities is endless. It’s the Winter Meetings, baseball’s annual transaction frenzy, where owners, GMs, agents and everyone else in and around the game assemble and make the moves which set the groundwork for the coming year. This year the work is being done at the Manchester Grand Hyatt In San Diego, and it is from here I will be writing all week to keep you in the loop.

This year’s Winter Meetings are shaping up to be very different from last year’s when, it seemed anyway, all of the big deals happened before the Winter Meetings got underway. Robinson Cano signed with Seattle in the runup to it all. As did  Carlos Beltran, Joe Nathan, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Justin Morneau, Scott Kazmir and Ryan Vogelsong. Indeed, it seemed like most of the big names were off the board before everyone even made it to Orlando in 2013. But this year it is a different story indeed, with all manner of players still available.

On the market:


We still await Jon Lester’s decision. He, reportedly, has offers in hand from the Cubs and Red Sox and possibly the Dodgers and Giants. The deal he ultimately accepts could be around $150 million, but for now, he is leaving everyone guessing and the rest of the pitching market is likely waiting for him to make a choice before it all falls into line. Once he does, expect the market for Max Scherzer to heat up as well as the trade market for any number of other starting pitchers, any of whom could go to teams which fell short of Lester. Included in this group could be Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, Jeff Samardzija and any of the Reds’ many pitchers reportedly on the market.


Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp are the big bats on the block. If the Dodgers can’t move Kemp they may try to trade Andre Ethier and/or Carl Crawford. Jay Bruce of the Reds and free agent Melky Cabrera each own some big bats which are also in demand, the former via trade and the latter via free agency.


David Robertson is the biggest name reliever left, though his market is hard to define. The Yankees may welcome him back, but probably not at the salary he’s expecting given that they signed Andrew Miller already. The Astros — who actually outbid the Yankees for Miller, only to see him choose New York — are a possibility. Other free agent relievers include Sergio Romo, Pat Neshek, Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Francisco Rodriguez. Jonathan Papelbon is being shopped by the Phillies and, given their rebuild, the Braves could dangle Craig Kimbrel as well.


Beyond the free agents, trade targets and rumor news, there is some other business to be attended to at the Winter Meetings. Most notably today, when the Veterans Committee announces which of the Golden Age candidates it has voted into the Hall of Fame. The candidates: Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills. If I had to guess I’d say that Howsam — the executive who built the Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s — Hodges and Oliva get voted in, but really it’s anyone’s guess. Dick Allen and Minnie Minoso are certainly deserving of a plaque in Cooperstown, but whether they get there or not is an open question.

But really, we can preview until the cows come home but every year there are some surprises at the Winter Meetings. Follow us at HardballTalk all week to keep abreast of what is going on at baseball’s biggest offseason event.

Report: Mariners appear willing to offer Melky Cabrera a similar contract to Nelson Cruz

Melky Cabrera

The Mariners signed veteran slugger Nelson Cruz to a four-year, $57 million contract this week, but general manager Jack Zduriencik is still looking for ways to improve his lineup. We heard last night that free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera is on their radar and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has some details on what a potential offer from Seattle might look like:

Cabrera is said to be seeking a five-year deal, with the Mariners thought to be willing to get into the neighborhood of the $57-million, four-year deal Cruz received.

The 30-year-old Cabrera is nearly four years younger than Cruz and he’s coming off a strong season in his own right, so it’s possible someone will give him that fifth year. But the AAV (average annual value) sounds about right.

The Mariners are also scouring the trade market for another bat. Recent reports have connected them to Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis from the Braves, and Yoenis Cespedes of the Red Sox, among others.

Mariners considering free agent Melky Cabrera

Toronto Blue Jays' Cabrera heads to the batters box during the first inning of their MLB baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco, California

The Mariners are hot on the trail for another outfielder after adding Nelson Cruz earlier this week. They’ve been reported as having trade interest in Justin Upton of the Braves and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. The Mariners may also consider free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera, Bob Dutton of The Tacoma News Tribune reports.

Dutton quotes GM Jack Zduriencik as saying, “A switch-hitter would be tremendous.” Dutton adds that manager Lloyd McClendon prefers a hitter who can slot into the second spot in the batting order between Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano, which would allow Dustin Ackley to be moved lower, perhaps eighth. Cabrera, obviously, fits that mold as he batted second in 112 of 139 games with the Blue Jays during the 2014 season.

Maybe fans can decide what they think?

melky cabrera getty

I just saw a remarkable Twitter exchange between San Francisco Chronicle reporter Hank Schulman and a Giants fan. The backdrop: discussion on whether or not the Giants bringing back Melky Cabrera would be a good idea.

The original tweet, from the fan, was a little rated-R for HardballTalk, but the upshot was the tweeter’s opinion that Melky Cabrera, despite his PED suspension, did not “mistreat” fans nor was he an “ass” to them. Shulman responded (along with paraphrased tweet from the fan):

I call this remarkable because it’s a reporter literally telling a fan that he is wrong about how he feels. “No, he did mistreat you!” Shulman is saying. With the implication that the fan doesn’t even realize how mistreated he was.

I find this rather hilarious. Mostly because, for decades, reporters have told us that they are different and that they can do their job the way they do specifically because they are not fans and do not approach things from a fan’s perspective. I trust Hank Shulman to give me Giants news and tell me what’s going on with the club and the players. I even trust his speculation about what may or may not happen and his view as to whether something is a good idea or not. He’s there, on the scene, and he knows more than we do. But the one thing a reporter is in no position to do is to tell a fan what he or she should feel about something.

I’m sure some fans hate Melky Cabrera and feel betrayed by his use of PEDs. That’s their right. A lot of fans, however, aren’t nearly as invested in that sort of thing. Maybe they just watch the games and don’t decide to become emotionally entangled. Maybe they don’t approve of Melky’s cheating, but they don’t feel like players “owe” fans things in those terms. Maybe they do approve of it. Hell, this is San Francisco, after all, and Barry Bonds is still cheered there. Maybe fans are pragmatic and they realize that Melky’s suspension led to the Hunter Pence trade and if it wasn’t for Pence the Giants may not have won the 2012 and 2014 World Series. Hell, maybe they want to shake Melky’s hand and buy him a beer for that!

But this isn’t about Cabrera. This about fans. Fans who are fully capable of forming their own opinions about baseball players and their transgressions. And who don’t need reporters to tell them what they should think or feel.

The Royals and Reds are interested in Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera

I feel like Melky is going to be Reggie Sanders going forward. Competent journeyman who doesn’t stay in a place long and plays well for everyone except Atlanta. From Heyman:

The American League champion Royals, looking for bats, have been in contact with former Royal Melky Cabrera . . . Cincinnati was tied earlier to Aoki and Morse, but if the Reds decide to go for it, they may stretch for Cabrera.


Of course, Melky played for the Royals once before. Back then he was trying to stay in the bigs. Now he’s likely looking for a longer term deal. He is said to want to play on the east coast or the Midwest, however, so his options aren’t as wide as they could be.