With a void in right field, many consider the Mariners a natural fit to sign free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera. However, it’s far from a sure thing.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners “appear unwilling” to offer a contract beyond three years. In addition, they aren’t expected to give Cabrera a higher AAV (average annual value) than they already gave Nelson Cruz ($14 million per season over four years). If that’s the case, their max offer for Cabrera could be $42 million over three years, which likely isn’t good enough. Still, Dutton writes that “many in the industry believe he will sign eventually with the Mariners.”
With previous trade targets like Matt Kemp and Yoenis Cespedes now off the board, some of the alternatives to Cabrera include Dayan Viciedo of the White Sox, Justin Upton of the Braves, Seth Smith of the Padres, and free agent outfielder Alex Rios.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.