General manager Brian Sabean and Giants fans are enthusiastic about the acquisition of Kansas City slugger and former Yankee Melky Cabrera. Cabrera hit a career-best .305 with 87 RBIs and 18 HR last season with the Royals.
Even though these numbers are nothing to sneeze at, Cabrera has not consistently hit above .270 throughout his career. He struggled greatly with Yankees as their fourth outfielder, hitting just .255 in his first three seasons.
He had his moments in New York though, which include hitting for the cycle, making a great leaping catch, and recording a few walk off hits before earning a World Series ring in 2009.
He left for Atlanta and was released by the Braves after the 2010 season hitting just .255, a decline from his final season in New York where he hit .274.
It's no surprise that Sabean signed him. Cabrera fits the profile of every other type of player signed by Sabean over the past few seasons: a likely fluke season, outlier numbers, streaky hitting and a player who hits more for average than power.
Oh, and he can’t play his position effectively.
The Giants have cycled through many center fielders the past few seasons from Marvin Bernard to Dave Roberts. Even though Cabrera has been in the big leagues for seven seasons, last year was his first as an everyday player. Yes, he hit .302 in Kansas City, but that could be easily, 20 points less in AT&T Park.
He is inconsistent, and his best numbers are from playing in the American League. The dimensions of Kauffman Stadium are incomparable to AT&T. Kauffman may be fairly deep, but is not nearly as wide, making it one of the easier parks to hit out of.
Not only does AT&T have considerable range, but it is incredibly wide, which makes it very difficult to defend, as well as hit in. Cabrera is known for a strong arm, but playing in Kauffmann probably made it look more powerful than it really is.
Cabrera needs to read the outfield well and make quick jumps on the ball to be effective, a particular talent of the since departed Andres Torres. I seriously doubt he has the speed or quickness Torres had.
Cabrera was heavily criticized in Kansas City for his poor range and inability to cover ground well. His move to China Basin opens up a potential position for Royals prospect Lorenzo Cain, who is supposedly great in the outfield.
If Cabrera wasn't defensively effective in a park like Kauffmann, it is laughable to think he can turn it around in San Francisco.
We don't know for sure what will happen; that’s why we let them play the game. But, if everything goes to plan after a Sabean signing, Cabrera will be useless this season and the Giants will slowly regress back to a postseason drought.