The topic has been brought up on sports talk radio and has been speculated over the past couple weeks, but when is the time to re-sign team standout Melky Cabrera?
The overall consensus would be that the Giants would love Cabrera back with the team next season. He is getting paid $6 million this season and will be a free agent after 2012, which means the Giants need to act quickly if they want to lock up their seemingly only productive hitter for multiple seasons.
Credit GM Brian Sabean with this pick-up, though. For how many contracts and trades he has botched while with San Francisco, a few tend to sneak through and become excellent acquisitions. Cabrera has been just that.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Gwen Knapp inquired in her column this past week about if or when the two sides could possibly come to an agreement.
Would the Giants wait and see if Cabrera is truly for real? Or does Cabrera wait and see if this is a team he really wants to be a part of for seasons to come?
Sabean said that the Giants may be leaning toward striking a deal with Cabrera sooner rather than later.
"Not necessarily," he said when asked about waiting until November to make an offer to Cabrera. "I think it's different with a transitional player, depending on who the agent is or the appetite of the player. So I wouldn't say that's an absolute."
November seems a long ways far off in the distance right now, especially to re-sign a player who has had this much effect on a ballclub.
Cabrera is batting .336 with 16 RBI and has an OBP of .383 this season. He is also fifth in MLB in hits so far this year—not bad for a near afterthought acquisition in baseball this offseason.
But with Sabean all but guaranteeing that the team would be offering Cabrera a contract in the near future comes the next thought to pop in people's heads: would Cabrera want to stay in San Francisco?
AT&T Park is not a hitter's ballpark by any means, yet Cabrera is having success there by slapping balls into the gaps and managing to get on base in a variety of different ways. However, the team's offense has struggled this season and will most likely be competing throughout the year just to make the playoffs.
If he stays in San Francisco, would he want the to be the main attraction in the lineup for opposing pitchers?
Better yet, with his numbers this season, would he want to test the free-agent waters and see what he can get from other teams? Per Knapp:
"You have to gauge how he feels about being on a club like this, a West Coast club, in the National League, how he's getting along off the field," Sabean said of Cabrera's future. "From all indications, he really likes being here."
Although that is the insight you would expect from a general manager just 36 games into a season, you have to take his word at this point. After the miserable time Cabrera had in Atlanta, San Francisco is looking pretty good right now. He may feel like he owes Hensley Meulens and Bruce Bochy a lot for virtually resurrecting his MLB career.
If that is the case, Sabean better act quickly and lock Cabrera up for however long he will allow them to. Cabrera has arguably been the only Giants player holding them to .500 baseball right now, and if San Francisco manages to make a run further down the line and becomes one of the better teams in baseball—which we all know they have the talent to be—then Cabrera would be the player leading them.
For just that, the Giants owe it to him to make him an offer he cannot refuse earlier in the season, rather than in November.
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