Indians Add Melky Cabrera on Minor League Deal
Bob Toth | On 24, Apr 2018
The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Melky Cabrera have agreed to a minor league contract, according to ESPN Deportes New York’s Tenchy Rodriguez and confirmed by Jon Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports.
A nemesis for many years, the 33-year-old Cabrera’s contract will be official pending a physical. He is expected to report to the team’s spring training facilities in Goodyear, Arizona.
Cabrera started the 2017 season, his 13th in the Majors, with the Chicago White Sox, hitting .295 with 17 doubles, 13 homers, and 56 RBI in 98 games before he was dealt back to his former club, the Kansas City Royals, just ahead of the July non-waivers trade deadline for a pair of minor leaguers. He played 58 games for the Royals, hitting .269 with 13 doubles, four homers, and 29 RBI.
His long career started early, as he debuted during his fourth professional season with the New York Yankees as a 20-year-old in July of 2005 against the Indians. He spent five years in the Bronx, but was traded following the 2009 season to the Atlanta Braves in a five-player deal.
He signed with the Royals in 2011, putting together his best season to date, hitting .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homers, 87 RBI, and 20 stolen bases, but was traded to San Francisco in the offseason. He was an All-Star and the MVP of the Midsummer Classic for the Giants in 2012, but his season ended early as he was suspended 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. At the time, he was hitting .346 with a .390 on-base percentage and a .516 slugging mark with 25 doubles, ten triples, eleven homers, and 60 RBI in 113 games.
He spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and was with the White Sox from 2015 until Chicago’s fire sale sent him back to Kansas City.
The defensive side of his game comes with some ugly metrics that include a -20 DRS last season and a career DRS in the outfield of -35. The worst of that damage over the years had been done in center field, a position that he has not played regularly since 2011.
The switch-hitter is eventually expected to report to Triple-A Columbus, a city that is familiar to him. He spent parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Clippers, when they were still the affiliate of the Yankees. He could fill the role of a veteran leader on the young squad after the loss of Mike Napoli a week ago to a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee. Cabrera also provides the Indians with a valuable insurance policy in the event of injury or poor performances from the current outfield mix in Cleveland.
Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images