Does Melky Cabrera's PED Ban Actually Increase His Odds of a New York Comeback?
When the dust settled on this year's All-Star game in Kansas City, the National League had earned themselves home-field advantage in the World Series, and the San Francisco Giants put on a show as Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval and Melky Cabrera showed just what a force the team could end up being in the NL West.
On a more individual basis, Cabrera had solidified himself as a clear candidate for a huge contract this offseason when he was set to enter free agency.
Heading into this week, Cabrera was batting nearly .350, leading the league in hits and runs scored, and was considered as a dark-horse candidate for NL MVP honors.
That all changed when he was given a 50-game suspension after testing positive for testosterone.
The Giants are still only a half game behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the West, and while the race will likely go down to the final week of the season, Cabrera's absence will surely be felt.
But what does this suspension mean for Cabrera once the outfielder does make his way to free agency?
It's hard to imagine that any team will hand out a long-term contract worth upward of the $50 million he could have very well signed. As we've seen in the past, though, a positive test for PEDs isn't always a death penalty.
It was just a year ago that the Tampa Bay Rays took a chance on Manny Ramirez, handing him a $2 million contract on the heels of a suspension. They did so when Manny was a full decade older than Cabrera will be when the 2013 season rolls around.
Having just turned 28 a week ago, Cabrera certainly has plenty of gas left in the tank, so it isn't out of the question to think he'll opt for a one-year contract in a market where he can prove himself capable of performing at high levels once again—and doing so cleanly.
Enter the New York Mets.
The team will likely be in the market for outfield help when the offseason market opens up. With Cabrera posting decent enough numbers while with the New York Yankees, the Mets' front office knows that a big spotlight won't hinder his development.
We don't know how long Cabrera was using testosterone, but we do know that during his eight seasons in the league he's batted .284 while averaging nearly 70 RBI per season, including a 200-plus hit campaign last year when he batted .305 with the Kansas City Royals.
Only time will tell as to whether or not they're willing to take such a risk. With the team likely not in the best position to spend big money, it certainly can't hurt to take a flier on someone who knows how much work it will take to earn back the trust and respect of the baseball world.
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