As the San Francisco Giants enjoy their victory parade after knocking off the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, the rest of the baseball world has already started looking ahead to next season. For the Giants, that means deciding what to do with Melky Cabrera.
The controversial outfielder was a key piece of the Giants offense before getting suspended for 50 games for elevated levels of testosterone. He was eligible to return in the playoffs, but the team opted against activating him.
On the surface, deciding to leave him out of the playoff equation would make it seem like the Giants have already moved on from the drama he created. After all, they were able to make their remarkable run without him.
Yet Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that isn't the case. After talking with people around baseball, he states that the Giants are still viewed as one of the most likely teams to take a chance on Cabrera, who's a free agent this offseason.
Bringing him back would be a mistake. If the Giants didn't want to rely on him during the playoffs—and they clearly didn't—there's no reason to view him as a piece that would help them next season. He would cause more headaches than he's worth.
It's important to remember that failing the test wasn't the only thing Cabrera did wrong. After learning of the results, he bolted. He removed himself from the team and it moved on without him, accomplishing its ultimate goal in the process.
What path should the Giants take with Cabrera?
Sure, Cabrera was putting up monster numbers before his suspension. He hit .346 with 11 home runs and 84 runs scored in 113 games. He also stole 13 bases. If he plays out the rest of the season, he's likely an MVP candidate right now.
If the Giants were guaranteed that version of Cabrera would be showing up for spring training, there would be at least some reason to consider signing him to a new deal. But it's far from a lock he'll come anywhere near those numbers next season.
Nobody knows how the substances he took impacted his performance. But when you look at a player who's just two years removed from hitting .255 with four home runs in 147 games for the Atlanta Braves, the red flags immediately start waiving.
Since the Giants can't be sure the productive version of Cabrera will return, they must avoid him. Let another franchise take the chance because there's a good chance in ends up backfiring.
The Giants can survive without him.