ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Major Announcement on MLB reports and Melky Cabrera Special Feature

Saturday November 17th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen:

The World, it is changing. It’s a fact of life, it’s something we can’t avoid. Change is inevitable.

Remember when the Chicago White Sox announced a new management structure? Long time General Manager Kenny Williams was promoted to Executive Vice President, with Rick Hahn being the new GM? We are experiencing a new management similarly here at MLB reports. I have been fortunate for the past couple of years to wear many hats at MLB reports. After founding the site and being the Lead Columnist, I was also the Editor responsible for content, updating the website and social media. I have spoken with many of you on Twitter.  Yes, that was me.

So today I am thrilled to announce that MLB reports has now changed that structure. Chuck Booth, Lead Writer for MLB reports will now be taking over my role. Chuck, in addition to his weekly columns, will now be the Editor and looking after our social media.  Chuck has been very active behind the scenes on MLB reports for some time and we have decided to evolve our roles. As partners in MLB reports, I have been very fortunate to be able to work side-by-side with a great baseball mind like Chuck Booth. This man is a Guinness World Record Holder, having viewed baseball games in all 30 stadiums in only 23 days. How does he do it? The man is a baseball legend.

Going forward, when you are reading our daily tweets, that will be Chuck. When you converse with MLB reports on Twitter, that will be Chuck. The great baseball articles that come every week from MLB reports? Chuck will be the Editor and responsible for all content on MLB reports. So where does that leave me you ask? I guess you could ask Kenny Williams that same question. While Kenny had the passion to have more time for scouting, I have the same passion for writing. There is much work that goes into being an Editor and social media. While I loved those roles, I ultimately want to spend more time writing. I will also be working behind the scenes, focusing on growing the MLB reports brand. It’s change…and change is good.

Not to worry, you will still be able to find me and converse baseball anytime. I am blowing the dust off my twitter handle @jhacohen – be sure to follow me, say hello and most importantly, let me know that I sent ya!

Now for the next announcement. You didn’t think that was it, did you? I certainly hope that you enjoy this edition of Ask the Reports, as it will be the last one that I will be producing. With hot stove season in full force, Chuck and I have decided to put ATR on hiatus for the offseason to concentrate on other baseball areas. The WBC qualifiers are currently going on, with the tournament itself starting in March. Free agency season has begun (which will the topic of today’s ATR). So please continue to send in your questions, we love to hear from you! While we will continue to write back on our site in the comments section, on our Facebook wall and Twitter, we will say goodbye to ATR for the winter months. This has been a weekly feature that was a baby for me. I loved conversing with each of you and featuring your questions. Thank you for taking the time each of you to sending in your questions, we really appreciate it. We look forward to continuing to talk baseball with all of you 24/7  through social media and our site. Send in those questions people, keep sending them in!

In today’s edition of ATR, I focus on the signing that shook the baseball world. Fresh off their major trade with the Marlins, the Blue Jays announced that they signed free agent outfielder, Melky Cabrera. We all know the story- All-Star Game MVP, batting leader with the San Francisco Giants. Gets busted for PEDs, tries to cover up with a fake website, requests to be removed from the batting leaderboard in the NL, does not play in the 2012 playoffs and wins a World Series ring. The sordid tale of Melky Cabrera. Now for a fresh start, Melky is banished to Canada. Ok, I kid. Heck, Chuck and I are both from Canada! But with less pressure than say New York or Boston, Melky gets a fresh start in 2013. My e-mail box has exploded with your Melky Cabrera questions over the last 24 hours. As a result, I have devoted this week’s ATR to your most popular Melky Cabrera questions. This is our Melky Cabrera Special Feature, ATR edition.

So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

Now let’s get to your top Melky Cabrera questions of the week:

 

Q:  What were the Blue Jays thinking? Why Would they want a guy busted for PEDs?

JH:  The Blue Jays, led by GM Alex Anthopoulos played some money ball in this signing. They found a market inefficiency. Had he not been busted for PEDs, Melky Cabrera was headed for a $60+ million contract. That is a fact. He would have received probably close to $12 million per season, for likely 5 years. That’s a lot of bread. So the Blue Jays sit back and think it over. Here is a 28-year old slugger entering his prime. Coming off 2 great seasons, he will be hungry with much to improve. Imagine we stick the guy leading the NL in average in front of Jose Bautista? Hmm…sounds pretty good! Had he not been found to be using PEDs, there is no chance the Jays get him for this low money. Would never happen. But thanks to the “incident”, they get a strong player, prime stage of career, at a fraction of the cost. Even if he does not stay as batting champion Melky, he will still be solid. If the Jays get a .280+ hitter with a .830+ OPS, they will be thrilled. Batting in front of Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera will see tons of great pitches to hit. He will hit .300+, mark my words. At the Rogers Centre (formerly the Skydome), he will hit 20+ bombs. The setting is there for success.

Moneyball is part finding a market inefficiency and exploiting it. Considering the money the Jays are paying, they are getting Melky Cabrera for cheaper than Cody Ross. Way cheaper than Nick Swisher. Who would rather have in your lineup? PEDs or not, Melky Cabrera was a one-man wrecking crew in San Francisco this season. Now he is shamed and ready to prove his worth. Playing in a fun and light Toronto clubhouse, filled with great role models and leaders, Melky will thrive. Jose Bautista will help him develop his game. Jose Reyes and Brett Lawrie will keep it fun. With all of the Dominican players on the Blue Jays, Melky will fit right at home. I’m sure the Jays were worried for about five minutes on the PEDs issue. But look, if Milton Bradley could get five chances, Melky Cabrera could get a 2nd. The Blue Jays just spent big time dollars in acquiring some key players from the Marlins. Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. They are clearly going for it this year. Melky Cabrera fills a giant hole in left field for the Jays and in the batting order. The Jays with this signing confirmed to the baseball world that they will be serious contenders in 2013. The Jays got one of the best available bats in the free agency market much before the winter meetings at a sale price. That is like buying one of the newest apple computers much before Christmas at 80% off the price. That is smart business and one of the top free agency moves of the season. I applaud the Blue Jays for their guts and determination. This move will pay off big time in the coming months. See you in October Toronto, you are getting ready for that long-awaited playoff appearance finally.

Q:  How much will the Giants miss Melky Cabrera?

JH:  Not a heck of a lot apparently. This was the team that won the World Series without Melky on the playoff roster. Melky Cabrera had a first half for the ages, but then was gone for much of the second half and the playoffs. Somehow, the Giants found a way to play better ball without Cabrera than with him! And we are talking about the All-Star Game MVP in 2012 and the batting champion while he was on the roster! The man was hitting .346 at the time of his suspension, do I really need to say more? But the organization was embarrassed and the team rallied to play without him. So it was clear once Cabrera was not activated for the playoffs that he was finished in San Francisco. If the team did not have room for its batting champion in the lineup, it was never going to play him again going forward. The Giants are concerned at this point with re-signing Angel Pagan and may look at other available bats to beef themselves up, maybe Nick Swisher. But remember, the team did go out and get Hunter Pence. He was in essence the Melky replacement. The team claimed one move had nothing to do with the other, but clearly the team knew the suspension was coming when it pulled the trigger on the Pence trade. The move was made for 2012 and beyond. So the Giants are World Series champions and Melky Cabrera grabs his passport to move north. The Giants closed the book on the Melk Man and they will not miss him one bit. A sad ending to what should have been a career season for Melky Cabrera. But don’t feel too sorry for him. He did it to himself. He took the PEDs. He tried to cover it up the website (through his associates). And most of all, he left the team without addressing his situation with his teammates. Melky Cabrera took the coward route by grabbing his glove and going home without apologizing face-to-face with all the teammates he hurt. Hopefully he learned his lesson, will be a better man for it and is ready to jumpstart his career. Just not in San Francisco.

Q:  Why did Melky sign for 2 years? Why not 1 year and try again for a big contract?

JH:  Considering the state of his career, Melky Cabrera is lucky to have received the deal he did. Most so-called “experts” were looking for him to get only a 1-year deal. I actually projected 3 years, but then I don’t run a MLB team. Yet. The man is only 28 and really entering the prime of his career. I can’t emphasize that enough. David Ross, an aging backup catcher got $6.2 million or so from the Red Sox for 2-years. Nick Swisher is seeking $100 million and Cody Ross is looking for a 3-year pact. In any other circumstances, Melky Cabrera would have been a 5-year deal candidate. But…then comes risk. Melky Cabrera was a decent 4th outfielder on the Yankees for most of his career, but never a star. He played so poorly in 2010 with Atlanta that he was non-tendered. His career looked over. Then the start with the Royals in 2011 and then the magical/explosion of 2012 came. The way teams needed to consider the risk with Melky, so did the player. What if 2013 didn’t go so well, then what? At least with a 2-year deal, he has time to build up his career. At $8 million per season, that is still nothing to sneeze at. The best case scenario: Melky has two monster years and enters free agency at age 30. The 4-5 year deal could return. At worst? He makes $16 million, enjoys the fine restaurants Toronto has to offer and moves on. But a 1-year deal did not give him enough time to rebuild and let people forget his mistakes. Melky Cabrera was smart about that. He didn’t undersell himself for too long, but still gave himself flexibility. He is going to the right hitter’s park, hitting around some great hitters (Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion). He was not getting 4-5 years this time around. That is a fact. Even Melky Cabrera himself didn’t know what his future was. Rather than gamble on 1 year, Melky grabbed for himself a little more security and time. A smart move for a player that needed to make better decisions going forward.

Something else to note is Melky Cabrera’s reputation at the start of his career. Out of shape and not motivated were two words to describe his Yankees days. Now without PEDs, I also believe that Cabrera learned the lessons from his youth. I can envision that he will train harder, eat better and work towards being the best athlete he can be. If that is the path that he takes, Melky Cabrera will get a huge contract one day. But even with the commitment to his career, there is always the chance that he will slip. Or simply not be good enough. You never know in life, it is all a gamble. So in essence, Melky Cabrera took the smart route. He took the sure contract and the guaranteed years. He may like to gamble, but not all the time I take it. Perhaps a 3 year deal could have appeared for him from another team, but that was not a chance that he was prepared take. Melky Cabrera got himself into the right situation at a very good contract. 

Q:  How Happy is Jose Bautista with this move?

JH:  I think Jose Bautista has nothing but smiles on his face. From a guy that was vocal about the Jays (and Alex Anthopoulos) needing to make some moves and pick up more players, Jose Bautista has to be one of the happiest people on the planet right now. Edwin Encarnacion also. Two guys who have enjoyed much success in Toronto with little support just got a ton of fresh bodies. Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck and now….Melky Caberra. How could he Bautista not be thrilled? Plus, where is Jose Bautista from? Encarnacion? Reyes? Bonifacio? Cabrera? Moises Sierra?  What we have folks is the Dominican Republic Blue Jays. The Jays, once very active in the area, just grabbed many Dominican stars on its roster and will have the country dancing in the streets. The happiest guy hasa to be Bautista. He signed long-term in Toronto with much hope, but uncertainty as to the future of the team. There is still no manager and going into the offseason, the pitching staff was in shambles. The trade jump started the excitement and the Cabrera signing will put Bautista over the top. Look at that batting order: Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion, Lawrie, Rasmus….that is murderer’s row. The Jays will have one of the best lineups in baseball with few holes. A star player like Bautista couldn’t ask for more than that. Plus with Cabrera/Reyes coming on board, you can be sure that the Jays will have more pull in the Dominican Republic for future talent. Having a strong presence in the Dominican excites the country which will in turn make its players happy. The 2013 Dominican Blue Jays: I like the sound of that.

Q:  Why did Melky pick Toronto?

JH:  Last but not least, we have to consider Melky Cabrera in the equation. He could have chosen many destinations to play next year, including the Red Sox, Mets, Phillies, Nationals, Indians, Royals…the list goes on and on. Why did Melky pick Toronto specifically? Well, firstly we don’t know how many teams were actually looking and were serious to sign the free agent outfielder. Considering that he signed in so early in November, it’s clear in my mind that Melky Cabrera did not want to take any chances in not getting a decent to good contract and starting the next stage of his career.

I’m sure that Cabrera had several criteria in his mind when he picked which place he signed with. Firstly, he had to be wanted by the organization. After being discarded by the Giants, he had to go to a place that wanted him, accepted him and would embrace him. He also had to pick a low pressure, easier media setting. In New York, Boston and Philadelphia, Cabrera would have run the risk of getting picked apart by the media on a daily basis, not to mention taunting by very vocal fans. In Toronto, Cabrera got a quieter media area with fans that clap politely at the best of times. Next, he needed to find a contender, with a strong lineup and hitter’s ballpark. Cabrera did not want to have to be “the man”, it was better to start slow and more play in the shadows. That essentially eliminated a Cleveland from the equation. In Cleveland, Cabrera would have received less support in the lineup and would not have played for a contender realistically. Lastly, it did not hurt that Toronto is very culturally diverse and Dominican friendly (thus my new nickname of the Dominican Blue Jays). Toronto is one of the major cities in the world, with great restaurants and atmosphere. It is clean and polished- Melky will definitely enjoy it. I will admit that I am looking forward to watching him for 81 games in my hometown. Even without the MLB Network, I am proud to live in Toronto. I have travelled all over the world in my days and I will tell you, this is one of the best cities in the world. If I can see that, I am sure that Melky Cabrera can see it as well. Jose Bautista signed here long-term for a reason. Melky Cabrera will find out why over the next two years.

Note From Chuck Booth:  When Jonathan asked if I wanted to add a bigger role with the MLB Reports, I was both honored and excited at the possibility.  Jonathan and I have been working non-stop since the start of the MLB Baseball Year.  The truth with this website is: we are experiencing enough growth that it is all so much work for one person to tackle.  We are all lucky that Jonathan had the foresight for a magazine-style baseball website that had as much interaction as humanly possible with its readers through social media hubs. as the MLB Reports does  Twitter and Facebook are absolute necessities to run a thorough and efficient baseball site in today’s world. Jonathan poured his baseball passion to have this place running so smoothly-and I will work my keester off to run with the same kind of format

As all of us know, these social media places require 24/7/168/365 attention.  Not only that, we take pride in posting our pieces with countless fact checking, presentation and editing in our articles.  So I am lucky enough enough to be self-employed and be available almost around the clock to take on this mission.  Now no one will ever confuse us with ‘PHD’ people of English grammar, and yes we make typos, spelling errors and make the odd factual error, however since all of us are more baseball fans than anything, I am guessing that  most of you are like me and this kind of thing does not bother them when reading baseball articles.

We still will do our best to present great looking articles, with writers that share the same kind of passion of love for the game as we do.  So in moving forward, I am not going to change much of the vision that Jonathan brought forth to begin with.  There will be small changes here and there to try and keep improving the site.  Just like Jonathan, I am available to talk about the game of baseball in any forms of our communication via Twitter, Facebook and (mlbreports@gmail.com) at anytime.    I will try my best to reply as promptly as I can.  We also have some exciting new things we are tackling here at the Reports.  I am writing a (Minimum) 5 Part Series on each MLB Franchise that will take about 2 years to complete.  So far I have completed the Nationals , Phillies and am about 60% through the Blue Jays Franchise Series.  It is of utmost importance that we don’t exclude any 30 fan bases of the MLB Teams. That is the whole premise behind undertaking such a monumental task.  You can find all of those articles here.

We have the hot stove fired up for all of the off season transactions on permanent watch.  We are tracking Free Agent Signings and Teams Payroll going forward.  The General Managers Meetings are coming in December.  Eventually the WBC and Spring Training will follow.   We have WBC Experts, Fantasy Experts, Ball Park and Travel Experts, a Cooperstown Correspondent, plus many talented writers with vast knowledge in different avenues of the game ready to write new pieces.  We even have a  Junior Reporter and a Senior Reporter to do some live interviews with MLB’ers and Minor Leaguers.  There are also plans in the works to start an MLB Podcast in the spring that you will be able to download and listen to on your favorite audio device.    We also have many baseball historians on board with our writing team.  We are going to be spending some of the off-season talking about the history of game and passing our knowledge  onto you. It is an exciting time for all of us. So sit back, buckle up and get ready for one helluva roller-coaster ride!



ARCHIVE:  Click here for Past Issues of Ask the Reports


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Jonathan Hacohen is the Founder & Lead Baseball Columnist for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on November 17, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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