When news broke that Melky Cabrera had been suspended for failing a drug test, my initial reaction was that although the move would hurt the San Francisco Giants this season, it would help them retain Cabrera at a discount going forward.
However, when the New York Daily News reported the bizarre news on Sunday that Cabrera and his representatives hatched a scheme to explain away the positive test by creating a fake website selling a supplement that doesn't exist, it became clear that Cabrera would likely not be back with the Giants.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that he was getting a "strong sense" that the Giants would not bring back Cabrera after news unfolded about the cover-up attempt. As the saying goes, the cover-up is always worse than the crime.
A lot can change between now and Opening Day next season. Perhaps the Giants will forgive Melky with time; but for now, it appears the organization will likely move on.
Thus, the Giants will need to replace Cabrera in left field next season. They may also have to replace impending free agent Angel Pagan in center field. If Pagan bolts, the Giants can turn center field over to top prospect Gary Brown next season, although Brown has had just an average season at Double-A Richmond, hitting .280/.350/.396 entering play on Wednesday.
Giants' general manager Brian Sabeanwas able to replace all three outfield spots last season by trading for Cabrera and Pagan, then signing Gregor Blanco to a minor league deal. At the deadline, Sabean acquired a fourth new outfielder by dealing for Hunter Pence. Pence and Blanco will remain under team control next season.
Here are three free-agent outfielders that I think the Giants could look at over the winter to replace Cabrera's production in the outfield.