Aug 20, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) watches his ground-rule double in the fifth inning that drove in a run during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
On Thursday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports wrote the following on the White Sox having an interest in the former Toronto Blue Jays batter:
"“The move would make sense for the improving White Sox, who struggled from the No. 2 position in the batting order last year. They posted a .279 on-base percentage out of that spot, 29th out of 30 teams, and the .634 OPS wasn’t much better (24th best). … Cabrera had a big season for the Blue Jays, hitting .301 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI.”"
That .301 batting average in the American League is something that really draws my attention, because it could possibly give Abreu more opportunities to bat with runners on the bases.
There are other teams interested in Cabrera (Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners), and he does have a past 50-game suspension, but I’m assuming all of that behavior is in the past, as he did make it through the ’14 season without any problems.
Being with the Blue Jays for the past two seasons, Cabrera has played in 227 games, equaling 1,923 at-bats and an overall average of .293 in those two seasons. Add to that his .340 on-base percentage and .421 slugging percentage, and that could possibly mean he is, in fact, the missing piece the White Sox are looking for.
Cabrera, who made $8 million this past season, could play in the outfield (left field) and as the designated hitter, but it comes down to if the White Sox are willing to pay $15-17 million per season for a player that is 30 years old, and if Cabrera wants to play for a team that hasn’t had a postseason berth since the ’08 season.
The standout free agent began his MLB career as a 20-year-old with the New York Yankees in 2005 and has a career average of .286 with 88 home runs and 520 RBIs.
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This past season, his WAR (wins above replacement) with the Blue Jays was 3.1 (in 139 games), much better than his ’13 WAR of -0.3 in 88 games.
Even with his past that includes a suspension of the 50 games, he’s been on the good side of baseball for the past two seasons and seems to have put the PEDs behind him.
If that is the case, the White Sox should really look into signing him to a multi-year deal. It would provide Abreu with some real protection in the order, plus just be an overall boost to a lineup that lacked consistency the past few seasons.