It is pretty obvious at this point that the San Francisco Giants have put re-signing Melky Cabrera at the top of their priority list.
He has been one of the biggest surprises of the baseball season so far, and easily the best offseason acquisition for the Giants this season. Cabrera currently owns the National League's highest batting average (.376) and is also the MLB's leader in hits this season (75).
Cabrera will be a free agent after this season and is getting paid $6 million in 2012.
It would be a no-brainer at this point for GM Brian Sabean to offer him a contract.
However, that part is easier said than done. There are two ways this can go for the Giants and Cabrera: Sign him during the season or sign him after the season.
Both have their risks. Signing Cabrera during the season could make him lackluster the rest of it, and attempting to sign him after the season would only allow him possibly explore other options in free agency.
The money part of the whole deal is also where it could get a little problematic.
(Cabrera's) price might have gone up this week, too, with Baltimore's Adam Jones nearing a signature on an extension that reportedly will guarantee him $85 million over six years. Jones trails Cabrera by one year of service time, too. In other words, he won't be a free agent after this season, like Cabrera will be.
Jones will be getting paid around $14 million for the next six seasons with the Orioles.
One would think that Jones' and Cabrera's contracts are linked in one way or another. These are two of the best hitters in the game with relatively the same amount of years under their belts and both are having great seasons in 2012.
The difference is that the Orioles locked up Jones for six years, and now the Giants will have to match that money when they pursue Cabrera.
Sabean's answer to the possible Cabrera re-signing pretty much sums up what kind of situation they are in right now.
"The stars would have to align," he said when asked if re-signing Cabrera during the season was an option at all.
In other words, there was no help from the Orioles here.
Is Cabrera worth around $14 million?
It may not matter, because if the Giants want him on their team for years to come, they will have to pay him somewhere around that number.
Sabean understands they need to re-sign Cabrera, but doing so during the season seems out of the question at this point, especially since Baltimore may have made matters worse with Jones' recent deal.
For now, we can enjoy what Cabrera is bringing to this team and what kind of a season he is having so far, but rest assured his contract will be a topic throughout the season and most likely ongoing into the offseason.
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