Perhaps you were getting used to the idea of how with one major transaction between Miami and Toronto, the landscape of the American League East has been remodeled in the Blue Jays favor.
Maybe you were starting to come out of shock following an announcement that virtually lamented the fact that Toronto see’s an opportunity to strike in 2013 and is willing to spend to contend.
Despite taking on an estimated 160 million in back loaded contracts, the Blue Jays made a move on Friday filling yet another one of the teams holes. This time, the brass chose to bolster the Left Field position by signing 2012’s All Star Game MVP, Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera (27) is coming off a controversial season that’s saw the 8 year MLB veteran lead the NL in Batting Average for 3 quarters of the season before testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs and being issued a 50 game suspension from the league.
With his team in the playoffs, the San Francisco Giants opted to leave Cabrera off their Postseason roster despite the fact that he had served his 50 game ban and was eligible for play in the NLCS. Part of the exclusion was due to the fact that his replacement Gregor Blanco excelled after being given the chance to start everyday in the wake of Cabrera’s suspension however some believe that the Giants were simply sending a message. You be the judge.
Cabrera signed on for a 2 year deal at 8 million a season. Had he not been caught using PED’s, the price tag for the former Yankee would have been substantially larger and come with an expectation of landing a contract that would guarantee him multiple years.
In Toronto, Cabrera has the opportunity to regain his reputation of being an Outfielder capable of hitting for a high average while being PED free. Should he excel with the Blue Jays, Cabrera has the opportunity to run his contract out and hit the Free Agency again by the time he’s 30.
Not only does Cabrera provide the Blue Jays with a formidable Left Fielder, he also gives the team another top of the order bat who in the past has shown flashes of speed having set a career high in SB’s in 2011 with 20.
It’s worth pointing out that Cabrera has never struck out 100 times in a season, simply put, he puts the ball in play more often than not. This is a welcome sign of relief for the Blue Jays who as a club, struck out 1251 in 2012.
*Note – Kelly Johnson set an all time (Blue Jays) high for Strikeouts in a season with 159 and then proceeded to hit a Home Run in his next AB.
Cabrera brings with him a career .284/.338/.414 slash line and is coming off of his 2 best seasons to date in 2011 and 2012 however he also has the stigma of being a “tainted” player who hasn’t seen a big league pitch since early August.
Sure, the move was a gamble but the return could pay off huge for the Blue Jays should Cabrera continue to evolve into a premier hitter in the MLB. Have to wonder if this deal gets made without the blockbuster earlier this week.