Melky Cabrera Aims for 5-Year Deal

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Melky Cabrera might be the next outfielder to find a home this offseason. The ‘Melk Man’ is reportedly looking for a guaranteed 5th year on his next contract, as reported by Ken Rosenthal:

As Rosenthal notes, it might not be crazy to think a 5th year is unattainable for Cabrera, as the older Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis both got 4 years in their respective contracts. Over the last 4 seasons, Cabrera’s 9.9 fWAR is more than Cruz’s 7.9 fWAR and Markakis’ 5.8 fWAR over that same span.

Markakis doesn’t have a previous PED suspension like Cabrera or Cruz. For that reason, it might be reasonable to use Cruz’s 4 year/$58 million deal he signed recently with the Seattle Mariners as somewhat of a benchmark. It’s not far-fetched to imagine the 30-year old Cabrera possible making around the area of Cruz’s 14.5 AAV, while also getting one more season than the 34-year old Cruz. While Cabrera battled injury in 2013, he came back to put up a very strong campaign in 2014.

The 2012 All-Star game MVP posted a .301/.351/.458 slash line over 621 plate appearances, combined with a career-best 10.8 K% and a rise in his BB% to 6.9% for the Toronto Blue Jays. According to PITCHf/x, the switch-hitting Cabrera appears to be seeing the ball much better, as he only chased 30.6% of the pitches he saw outside of the strike zone—a decrease from the 33.8% it stood at in 2013—and made contact with 93.5% of the pitches he swung at inside the strike-zone—a slight increase from its 92.6% state in 2013. Currently, he is one of the strongest outfielders left on the free agent market, as Cabrera has seen interest from the Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals—according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The San Francisco Giants have also reportedly been interested in a reunion, as they have expressed interest in Cabrera as well according to Ken Rosenthal:

While it seems that the 10-year veteran will surely get more than the 2 year/$16 million dollar deal he received in the 2013 offseason following his PED suspension, it appears he might also have the leverage he needs to get a 5 year deal, as well.

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