Melky Cabrera has been the talk of the baseball world during these past 24 hours or so and will be the talk of baseball for months to come. Obviously, not for good reason. While the once beloved “Melk Man” faces more questions than imaginable, there’s a mystery that needs to be solved in the proces..
Prior to his 2011 campaign with the Kansas City Royals, he was nowhere near the stature he is now. In fact, he was a disappointment if anything. He spent five rough years with the Yankees, hitting for a triple slash of just .269/.331/.385. In those five years with New York, his tools were never questioned. Nor was his upside. His work ethic? You caught him there because that facet of his game has been questioned more than enough times. The Yankees would agree, and so would the Braves in spite of Cabrera spending just one year with the Atlanta.
His bad reputation swiftly circulated around the league, and soon earned him the “journeyman” label. Yet, that label would soon become a lost cause for good reason. The Royals would be the beneficiary, at least for one lone year.
Cabrera’s 2011 season with the Royals was exactly the definition of what a breakout season is. He collected 201 hits, and ultimately put his name back on the map. Back onthe map he was. This time around, though, teams were interested in him. More specifically, the Giants. Kansas City, who has always had a boatload of young talent, traded El Leche away to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez. And for 113 games, Royals GM Ned York looked like a fool as Cabrera was named an All-Star, won the MVP award in Kansas City, and was ultimately having an MVP caliber of a season. While York’s trade will always be known as one of the worst trades in major league history, it won’t be as painful as it could’ve been, simply because of Cabrera’s recent drug scandal.
Cabrera’s future doesn’t look very bright, either. First, hewill ultimately have the journeyman labeled slapped right back on him, barring a miracle. By miracle, I mean that some team overpays him and dumbly locks him up long term. Second, he will have to prove himself without the juice. These past two years have been great and all, but were those two breakout seasons just the result of the drugs he took? I’m in no position to assume, but that could very well be the case.
Let’s dig a little deeper by taking a look at this chart.
As you can clearly see, his stats have improved greatly over the past two seasons, particularly his WAR. It was almost like it was too good to be true. Is it a coincidence? That remains to be seen. And it will remain a mystery unless Cabrera comes out and says when he took the PED. Of course, his improvement could the be result of hard-work, and maturation, but the fact that his numbers are practically on a different planet than they were two years ago makes an interesting case. However, major league baseball does a very good job of testing players throughout the course of the 162 game season. The likelihood of something like this slipping through the cracks is highly unlikely. But then again, nothing is impossible.
The point is— he’s suspended. Yes, it would be nice to solve the mystery, but don’t count on answers any time soon.