Mike Cameron for Melky Cabrera: an EXCELLENT Trade for Yankees

JerseySenior Analyst IDecember 11, 2008

The Yankees are on the verge of dealing for Milwaukee center fielder Mike Cameron.

As it stands now, the deal would be Melky Cabrera for Cameron, straight up. While some people are less than thrilled, I think this is an excellent, excellent move for the Yankees.

Look, I love Melky's name, and he's a solid fielder, but he's just not a viable player for this team. He can't hit for average or power, and he's not that big a threat to steal bases—then again, you have to be on base get a steal, don't you?

I know he's young, but with Austin Jackson waiting in the minors, does it make a difference? Melky's future with the club is as a defensive replacement at best, and that job has already been usurped by Brett Gardner.

Some will quickly point to the fact that Melky's batting average was actually higher than Cameron's last year, and that's true, but since when is batting average the all-consuming ultimate stat of greatness? What about their other numbers?

Melky hit eight home runs last year in 129 games, and that sad number actually tied a career-high for him. Kid's got no pop, end of story. Cameron's still bopping over 20 a season consistently, going long 25 times last year in nine fewer games than the Melk man. Advantage Cameron.

Melky had all of 37 RBI last year. Thirty-seven. Cameron? He had 70. Double the output. He also doubled Melky's stolen base output despite being 12 years older. And while Melky's average was higher (by six measly points, mind you), Cameron's OBP was 30 points higher. His slugging percentage was over 100 points higher than Melky's! This is an upgrade of epic proportions!

Is Cameron the best center fielder in the game? Certainly not. And yes, he did get busted for amphetamines last year, resulting in a 25-game suspension. But he's back now and proving he can still produce at a high level. The man still plays a decent center field and is a much better hitter than Melky, so how could you not like this trade? Would you honestly prefer throwing Melky Cabrera out there every day?

Some will complain about the contract, saying it's a typical, stupid Yankee move, trading a prospect for an aging, expensive, former star. But that's a terrible argument. Cameron's on the books for all of ONE year. He's a placeholder for Austin Jackson, not a long-term commitment.

And while he's old, he's not a shell of his former self. He's taken a step back, but the Yankees are aware of that. They traded for a 35-year-old Mike Cameron, and that's why they only had to give up a sorry excuse for a hitter.

Melky had no future with this organization, and neither does Cameron. But for the present, Cameron is a much better option, even at $10 million. It's a very good move for the Yankees, and I don't see why anyone would complain about it.