Melky proving White Sox were right to sign him


The Chicago White Sox have won six of their last eight games and enter today 6.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins for the American League’s second Wild Card.

A big part of the team’s recent success has been the play of Melky Cabrera.

It was exactly eight games ago that manager Robin Ventura moved him to the three spot in the order (as I advised before the season started) hitting behind Jose Abreu. But Cabrera’s improved play didn’t just start there.

Over his last 15 games Cabrera is hitting .393/.438/.625 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

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The signing of Cabrera to a three-year, $42 million deal this offseason looked like one of best, under-the-radar moves of any team in baseball when it was first made. The White Sox were a team in need of a number two hitter that could get on base and not give away outs with strikeouts.

In 2014, he hit .301/.351/.458 and only struck out 67 times. In fact, Cabrera had hit for a .300 average or better in three of the last four seasons and only struck out more than 68 times once in his career.

Those numbers easily justified his contract and made him seem like the least of the White Sox potential lineup concerns.

For the better part of two months, that feeling was gone.

On June 7th after a loss to the Detroit Tigers, Cabrera reached his lowest point as his average dropped to .226 with an on-base percentage of .263. For the longest time, he was also hitting under .100 against left-handed pitching.

Since that game, he has looked much more like the player we have seen him be over the last four seasons.

During this time (last 26 games), Cabrera is hitting .347/.398/.516 with two home runs and 15 RBIs. His play has also helped Abreu benefit. Over that same time period, the White Sox first baseman has scored 22 runs.

Now that Cabrera is back to being the player he has been known to be, he could shake up the White Sox plans at the trade deadline.

Teams could come calling about his availability in a trade, although the White Sox may have to agree to pay some of his salary. A corner outfielder with the ability to switch hit and get on base surely holds value.

On the other hand, his strong play of late could play a factor in the White Sox shifting their focus from sellers to buyers.

It would be premature to believe in this team all of a sudden just because of their play over the last week. There is still three weeks till the trade deadline and it will likely take the White Sox to jump above .500 over that time to become buyers.

Cabrera is just 30 years old. That would lead me to believe that he still has some good years left ahead of him. If the White Sox want to be winners in 2016, he is not a guy that should be moved.

If the idea becomes to be rebuild, then there is no point of someone over 30 to be apart of that.

Either way, the White Sox are in good position with Cabrera.

Next: Should Chris Sale be the AL's All-Star game starter?

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