Having served his 50 game suspension for PED use, OF Melky Cabrera wasn’t part of the Giants’ roster for the NLDS or the NLCS, but should San Francisco defeat St. Louis Sunday and Monday night to advance to the World Series, The Economist argues there’s no point in continuing his banishment (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory). And besides, “Mr. (Gregor) Blanco’s magic has run out.”
There is a strong case that a reduced Mr Cabrera is no better than Mr Blanco. But Mr Blanco is not the only player Mr Cabrera could replace. The Giants are currently carrying two weak-hitting backup infielders on their 25-man roster in Ryan Theriot and Joaquín Arias. It’s hard to see the utility of having two utility infielders at once. Moreover, Xavier Nady, San Francisco’s only backup outfielder, has not produced acceptable numbers for a player at his position since 2008, and is a defensive liability to boot. Might one of those roster spots not be better invested in Mr Cabrera, despite all his baggage?
The Giants might well face a backlash from fans and the media if they abruptly stripped Mr Blanco of his starting role and reinserted Mr Cabrera in the World Series lineup. But bringing him back in a bench role, giving him the opportunity to contribute a timely pinch hit or serve as a defensive replacement, might seem an appropriate punishment, and would be much less likely to rile up the club’s supporters. Winning the World Series might well be worth $100m to the Giants, in the form of additional ticket and merchandise sales next year and eventually a bigger deal for their broadcast rights. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table in order to teach the chastened Mr Cabrera a lesson.