Are the Cubs targeting Melky Cabrera?
After a season in which the Chicago Cubs ran through a number of different outfielders, they may now be in the hunt for free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have both made it known that they are ready and willing to make the necessary moves to improve the team. That may also mean spending a bit more money than they initially hoped. With new manager Joe Maddon already onboard, increased spending appears inevitable.
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Cabrera, 30, rejected a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Toronto Blue Jays, thus allowing him to pursue opportunities with other organizations. The veteran outfielder would be a nice addition to the Cubs and could help them in more ways than one. In 139 games last season, he hit .301 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI, while also posting a .351 OBP before his season came to a premature end due to a broken finger.
Throughout his career, Cabrera has been a solid player and has played for a number of great teams including the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees and 2012 World Champion San Francisco Giants. And aside from a still-looming 50-game suspension due to PED use, Cabrera has flown under the radar as one of the better outfielders in baseball.
Apart from Jorge Soler in right field, the Cubs outfield is wide open and could use a guy like Cabrera. The former 2012 All-Star Game MVP would not only bring his defensive ability, but his offensive prowess as well. As a switch-hitter, Cabrera rarely strikes out (67 SO in 621 plate appearances last season), and would add some left-handed power to a team that had none outside of Anthony Rizzo and occasionally Luis Valbuena.
Because of his age, Cabrera will likely want a multi-year deal, and that’s where the challenge will be to sign him. While the Cubs will be able to afford a deal like that in the short-term, it can possibly hurt them in the long run. With a number a free agent targets already in sight, signing Cabrera could prove to be a risk the Cubs aren’t willing to take. Whether or not they can get him to sign for a smaller contract remains to be seen. But as Cub fans now know, never underestimate what Theo and Jed are capable of.