Big, big news out of San Francisco that could have major playoff implications: Melky Cabrera has been suspended 50 games for a positive testosterone test.
That knocks him out for the rest of the season — the Giants only have 45 games left — and presumably the postseason. Though I’ll check to see whether suspensions can be counted off with postseason games. If they can. He’d be available for a theoretical NLCS.
Oh, and it appears that Melky lied to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com about it too, so that’s fun.
Cabrera is hitting .346/.390/.516 on the year and, until Buster Posey’s hot streak of late, was the Giants’ offensive MVP for most of the season. Now … he’s gone. And it hurts not just the Giants: Cabrera will be a free agent after the season is over, and now his free agent money drive is all gone.
UPDATE: Cabrera just made a statement and he made no excuses:
“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”
Wow. Can’t remember many violators who actually owned up without caveat.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.