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Free Agent Watch: Predicting Where Melky Cabrera Will Sign

Melky Cabrera

In August, Melky Cabrera probably went to sleep with dollar signs in his eyes. No player in baseball was building toward a surprise, Beltre-esqe $100 Million free agent payday more than Mr. Cabrera. Not only was he playing for a World Series favorite and leading the N.L. in batting, but he won the All-Star game MVP. I mean nothing could possibly go wrong for the guy…

…until his urine sample was found with more ‘roids than one of Canseco’s back zits. In addition to his 50 game suspension and loss of millions of free agent dollars, the Giants went ahead and won the World Series without the Melk Man. Ouch.

But despite the questions over whether Melky’s monster year was the result of sweat or a syringe, there’s still a pretty healthy market for Cabrera’s services. So let’s take a look at some of his top suitors:

Baltimore Orioles – While Josh Hamilton looks to be the top target of the O’s, Melky could be a good Plan B. Baltimore needs a left fielder with some pop, and Cabrera could offer protection for some of the other top young hitters in Baltimore’s suddenly potent line-up.

Philadelphia Phillies – After an abysmal season in 2012, the Phillies are looking to rebound in a major way. Adding Cabrera could really address some of their offensive woes, and give protection for Ryan Howard. But with so much money already tied to their pitching staff, Philly is unlikely to sign Cabrera for anything more than a one year/prove-it deal. And the market for Melky should be a little better than that.

Boston Red Sox – The only people to have a worse second half of the season than Melky … are Red Sox nation. Talk about a team implosion. I mean there hasn’t been a massacre that bad in Boston since, well…the Boston Massacre. But the Sox are in dire need of outfield help and look to be long shots for the more premiere free agents. Cabrera could be an option here, but with all the drama in the Sox clubhouse last year, is adding the controversial Cabrera the right move? I’m not so sure, which is why I think Melky will end up with the:

Cleveland Indians – Cleveland’s corner outfielders were horrific last year. (I’m looking at you Shelley Duncan.) Cabrera would be a major upgrade for the Tribe. Plus, he could play in a relaxed environment, for a team not expected to contend in 2013. I’m guessing Melky would put up big numbers for a bad team, stay out of trouble, and position himself for a big payday next off-season. Plus, if Cabrera does have another positive drug test … he can just blame it on drinking the Lake Erie water.

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