Jon Heyman has a really foolish piece at CBSsports under the headline, “Giants shouldn’t even think about bringing Melky back in October.”
I disagree, PED suspension and all, they should think about bringing Cabrera back, as long as he can get himself in game shape for the playoffs. Cabrera is a good player, who was having a monster season, and is far better than their other options. Teams with more good players generally win more games. Lets go through Jon’s arguments.
They are 20-10 since star outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended after testing positive for testosterone, and also after trying his shenanigans after the failed test.
If I’m counting correctly, at the time the article was published, in the afternoon of September 19, the Giants were 21-10 since Cabrera was suspended, from 64-53 on the afternoon of August 15 to 85-63 yesterday, but who cares, right? The Giants won again on Wednesday night, September 19 and are now 22-10 since Cabrera was suspended.
In those 32 games, the Giants have a run differential of 158-130, or +28. They’ve scored 5.3 runs per game and allowed 4.3 runs per game. This is a team that averages 4.4 runs per game.
Fifteen of these games were against four of the six worst teams in the NL (Colorado, Houston, Chicago, and San Diego). The Giants went 12-3 in those contests.
Where’s the Giants’ offense coming from? Since Cabrera’s suspension, on August 15, Buster Posey is hitting a Posey-ish .345/.417/.534 with 15 walks and 16 extra-base hits in those 30 games. Angel Pagan has hit a heavenly .326/.363/.529 with 19 extra-base hits and eight walks. Gregor Blanco has filled in admirably going .293/.346/.373 with a totally unsustainable .431 BABIP.
Cabrera is in Miami now. He hasn’t been with the team. There’s no sign he cares about them.
I’ve heard there are both gyms and batting cages in Miami. Maybe he has not been with the Giants because oh, MLB suspended him from the team? Perhaps the signed postcards from Melky in Miami to the clubhouse or to Jon, to let him know he was thinking about the Giants got lost in the mail. Or perhaps, he has been texting with some of his buddies on the team.
There is no reason to believe the Giants will be tempted to employ him in October.
Ooh, I have a reason. Cabrera hit .320/.364/.469 in 105 games this year with a .149 isolated slugging percentage. Sure, he did that with a .351 BABIP, so he was likely to regress. Giants LF not named Melky Cabrera have hit .271/.340/.350 with a .079 slugging percentage and thanks to an even sillier .389 BABIP.
If the argument is that Cabrera could not get himself ready to contribute in game action in October because he will be rusty, fine. If Gregor Blanco is better in two weeks than Cabrera, ok. However, arguing that the Giants, after one month of baseball, in which they have beaten up on bad opponents are better off without one of their best hitters, is silly.
This article could easily have been written arguing that since the Giants are 8-5 against teams with .500 or better winning percentages, or just 2-3 against teams currently in position to make the playoffs (Washington and Atlanta) that the Giants need Cabrera in October.