So what gives with the supposed inclusion of Melky cabrera in every single deal the Yankees are floating as they attempt to sign Johan Santana? I was curious, so I spent some time delving into the numbers of Mr. Melky, and found some surprising things.
My personal bias when I first started this made me think that Melky was nothing more than a good, but not great, 4th OF'er on a contending team. A guy who could spell CF or LF depending on an injury because as a fringy arm that rates as pure 45-50 on the 20-80 scale, he can't cover RF and thus that reduces his value, although not nearly as much as his offensive production.
At the age of 22, he has been advanced very quickly through the Yankees system, and now, 1000 ABs into his professional career, we can assess the type of player he could potentially be, or more likely will become.
A somewhat disturbing trend appeared last year, when his K% jumped, as well as his ability to take a walk, as evidenced by his OBP:
2006 : .360
2007 : .327
This is problematic on several fronts, but becomes excacerbated when you place Melky in the Twins lineup and not in the juggernaut that is the Yankees.
Batting on average in the 9th slot in the lineup, he was surrounded on the top side by Johnny Damon, or Derek Jeter, and on the downside, by Robinson Cano, who only hit .306 with 19 HRs and 97 RBI. In Minnesota, he becomes a player who is being counted on to produce much more, and would likely bat in the 7 hole, where his backside protection would be the dubious Nick Punto, or perhaps Luis Rodriguez is things shape up the way they are now.
Melky's residence in NY, and his yearly average to date:
70 RBI (One of a kind NY environment)
His age(22), and cheap status ($432,000)is what I keep coming back to in terms of why teams must be interested, and why the Yankees are including him in every deal, but I may be missing something. What do you guys think?