Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
While one Cabrera was leading his team into the World Series, another was sitting on the sidelines, left off the playoff roster after a suspension for testing positive for testosterone. Everyone knows of Miguel Cabrera‘s exploits in winning the first Triple Crown in 45 year, and likewise everyone knows that potent bat was absent in a World Series loss to the San Francisco Giants. But the man who won the All-Star Game MVP and in large part won home-field advantage in the Fall Classic for his team, Melky Cabrera, was not a part of the festivities. Likewise, as free-agent season has officially begun, Cabrera’s been something of a forgotten man with teams looking to re-tool for 2013. Nonetheless, though some of Cabrera’s numbers are suspect and his presence is something of a gamble, teams looking for outfield help would be wise not to overlook Cabrera as a viable option to help their team. The argument against Cabrera is easy: before 2010, the offensive numbers he put up plainly weren’t very impressive. He was viewed as one of the better fourth outfielders in baseball and a defensively flexible player who dealt well with irregular at-bats. However, he was certainly never a slugger, with his best slugging percentage at .417 in 2008. He then took off in 2011 and 2012, posting OPS figures of .809 and .906. Any team expecting to get the 2012 version of Cabrera is almost certainly going to be left wanting. Whether it was a result of testosterone use or peaking in performance in his age-27 season, last season was an absolutely outlier in a good-but-not-great career. All that being said, Cabrera does bring valuable skills to the table, and there are indications that his 2011 performance may be repeatable. First off, while we know that Cabrera not only tested positive for testosterone, but then participated in a very sloppy attempt to cover it up (raising character issues), one doesn’t have to look back very far for an instance of a positive test which wasn’t necessarily a harbinger of performance dropoff: 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun. Braun, of course, also tested positive for testosterone after his MVP performance, and though his suspension was overturned, any applied wisdom says that Braun was a user. However — assuming it cab be safely assumed he was off the junk in 2012 — Braun’s performance did not suffer, putting up nearly identical peripheral numbers to his MVP campaign last year. Of course, Cabrera isn’t Ryan Braun, but it does prove that there isn’t a linear relationship from positive PED test to performance dropoff. Moreover, though Cabrera didn’t and is never going to hit for the kind of power Braun has in his career, Cabrera does have one set of skills which bode well going forward: he’s avoided large strikeout numbers while showing a good, if unspectacular, eye at the plate. What that does is it limits his downside, even if his upside remains something of a mystery given his indiscretions. Nonetheless, considering Cabrera will be in his age-28 season, he’ll still be right in the middle of his prime, and even if he won’t repeat his 2012 numbers, it’s a reasonable gamble to take that he’ll end up closer to his .809 2011 OPS (playing in the hitters’ park of Kauffman Stadium) than his .671 2010 number. Of course, like all players in the post-Moneyball era, Cabrera’s attractiveness will largely be dependent upon his price — but that’s exactly why he may well be an attractive option. With the PED cloud hanging over his performance the last two years and having missed most of the second half of 2012, Cabrera may have ensured that the bottom fell out of the market for him in what could have been his year to earn a big payday. It would be a surprise to see Cabrera wind up with anything longer than a one-year deal, making him a prime candidate to be some team’s calculated risk. Considering the state of the outfield free-agent market, many teams could do a lot worse than taking on that risk.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Jets, Bills expected to pursue Darrelle Revis

Falcons being investigated for fake crowd noise

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

VCU G Briante Weber suffers major knee injury in loss

Short selling leaves hundreds of fans without S.B. tickets


Hamilton, Edmonds' spouses to appear on 'Real Housewives'

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix trolls LSU over Kevin Steele hire

Jerome Bettis elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Report: Duncan suing financial adviser, lost $20 million

Bret Bielema wanted Dolphins to draft Russell Wilson early

Nick Diaz apologizes to fans for skipping open workout

Patriots' footballs were 'just a few ticks' under limit?

2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class announced

Anderson Silva beats Nick Diaz in return to octagon

WATCH: 'SNL' mocks Super Bowl

Sabres had a horrific month of January

Ole Miss uses Katy Perry as prop in recruiting

PHOTO: Ezekiel Elliott gets new national title tattoo

WATCH: Rondo takes brutal knee to face from teammate

Pig auctioned off at halftime of college basketball game

Should the Super Bowl be played on a Saturday?

Underwear company shows support for Marshawn Lynch

WATCH: WVU player flips opponent the double-bird

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Jets, Bills to pursue Revis

Did the Falcons pipe in crowd noise?

2015 Hall of Fame class announced

Aaron Rodgers wins NFL MVP

Tim Duncan suing financial adviser?

Five likely cap casualties of 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls

Missy Elliott to join Katy Perry at SB?

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.