The San Francisco Giants should not re-sign Melky Cabrera.
A long time ago, it seems now, I was minding my own business in my Post-Melky world, enjoying the Giants coming back from down 2-0 to take down the Cincinnati Reds, when my phone buzzed and I saw this headline from MLBTradeRumors.com. All of a sudden, I was not pleased.
Now, I was not happy with Melky when he was first suspended, but there was that part of me—the Gollum to my Smeagol—that quietly suggested that Melky Cabrera's price after the season just plummeted, and that it was a good thing.
Then I got over it, and was able to stifle that voice for a long time, mostly because the news that Cabrera tried to cover up the whole mess made it go down better than if I coated it in Nutella. Then everyone else on the Giants made up the difference, and they made the playoffs with the best road offense in baseball.
Then that damn series with the Reds came around, and every single one of those bats that got the Giants there was shut down by Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo, and the KNBR caller in me woke back up and whispered in my ear.
"You know he can come back for the NLCS...and the World Series. Melky vs. Verlander. Better than Blanco, right?"
The Giants had already told us that they weren't bringing Cabrera back, and it was the right choice. So what if the offense struggled? After the years of Barry Bonds and the Mitchell Report, the Giants had won a World Series in 2010 without steroids, and that was a good thing.
Do the Giants bring Melky back?
As long as they were winning, at least.
Yet, as soon as that offense went stagnant, everyone was scrambling for an answer. Who do they put in to energize the lineup? Theriot? Huff? Nady? Not happening.
So, instead, the Giants turned to pixie dust and magic and hairs from the beards of the Founding Fathers and won the NLDS.
Then Melky was eligible, and the Giants created doubts on offense. (What an interesting combination!)
In the end, San Francisco decided to leave Cabrera off the roster—again—and the Giants came back from behind and won against the Cardinals. And then again, against Verlander and friends.
So, if the Giants were adamant when it happened that they were moving on from Melky, and the clubhouse and players moved on from Melky, and Marco Scutaro started hitting better than Melky, and they powered to an NL West title without Melky, and they have said again and again in the playoffs that Melky is not coming back for the rest of this year...then why this news?:
Following his 50-game suspension for a performance-enhancing drug and word of an alleged cover-up attempt, the odds of the Giants re-signing Melky Cabrera this offseason seemed unlikely. However, there is now more openness within the Giants organization to retain the outfielder, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
No. Bad Sabean. You can't just...change feelings.
The Giants have to stand strong on this one. They got down the stretch and through the playoffs without Melky. Their position as both the geographic home of BALCO and the home of one of the most prolific never-proven steroid users in Barry Bonds has already given them a black eye when it comes to PEDs.
Even though they won the World Series, which basically gives them a pass to do whatever they want (like re-sign Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez for a lot of money), re-signing Melky Cabrera CANNOT BE ONE OF THOSE THINGS.
So much of this stretch has been about putting the Melky business in the rear view. Sure, you can make the argument that the Giants got to the World Series because of what he did in the beginning of the season, and that they only got two games at home because of his performance in the All-Star Game.
However, the Giants surged after he was suspended. The true personality of this team took over, and it wasn't just one guy performing better than ever and a bunch of other guys along for the ride.
On August 15, the Giants were 64-54, dropping to second place in the NL West, and Melky Cabrera had just been suspended. From that day until the end of the season, they were 30-14, eventually winning the division by eight games. If you include the postseason, the Giants were 41-19 without Cabrera in the lineup.
If you're the Giants, and you just proved that you can win a World Series without Melky's production, then why even touch that situation?
If you look at the players on this team, none of them really had anomalous production. Pagan had a great year but has had similar ones in the past. Blanco was right around his usual production. Scutaro was Scutaro.
If you go the Moneyball route and look at replacing production, the Giants did a pretty good job replacing Cabrera's numbers across the board. And if you imagine an outfield of Blanco, Pagan and Pence all at their norms, with the Giants pitching returning to their usual stinginess, what's stopping them from ending up in the same place again next year?
I say, especially after riding this feel-good, no-nonsense, good-clean-fun team mentality over the last two months, why even touch Cabrera in 2013? Sure, he'll be a bargain, but they just spent this time proving that they don't need him.
And that's where it should stay. The Giants don't need Melky Cabrera. On the field or off the field.
Let's move on.