This type of production could be the product of products not allowed by the MLB drug policy, or it might not. Assume that Cabrera was clean all of last season, and it seems more likely that Cabrera’s subpar performances before last season were likely a combination of youth, inexperience and sore muscles from the constant fist-bumping and secret handshakes with best friend Robinson Cano. Assume that Cabrera was just waiting to get dirty, then all those middling pre-breakout years were due to an inability to get his hands on the steroids all the cool kids were taking. It’s in how you see it, and “it’s” is roughly the same thing, in this thought exercise, as “tens of millions of dollars.”
There is a case for the former, to be sure: a seemingly upward progression in his career and the batting statistics of last season; the fact that Melky is (relatively) young, as evidenced by next season only being his “age-28” year and his seventh full year in the league (which likely gives him another 3-4 years in his notional prime); that Melky is (extraordinarily) likable, as evidenced by the insane support that San Francisco fans, including a personal cheering section known as “The Melk Men,” showered upon him before his unexpected suspension and his All-Star voting victory. Given all that, it’s not impossible that a guy as (seemingly) talented, (relatively) young, and (extraordinarily) likable as Melky Cabrera might get through this debacle (almost) unscathed. And, thankfully for Melky, there is precedent for this sort of thing. Kind of.
We all remember a similarly beloved slugger with a similarly detached disposition in the NL West who was banned for a similar transgression. Of course, one of them was known as one of the 10-best right handed hitters of all time, while the other is, in his better moments, the second best big league hitter whose name can be abbreviated as “M. Cabrera.” But there are definitely some parallels to be drawn between Manny and Melky. More importantly, at least for Melky, there are some things that Ramirez went through that Cabrera can learn from as he attempts to rebuild his brand. Or, less the buzzword, his career.
Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:10 AM | 13 comment(s)
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