The Toronto Blue Jays continued their transformation this offseason, signing former Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera to a two year deal worth $16 million. Cabrera was suspended for 50 games last season after a positive test for an elevated testosterone level.
Suspension aside, 2012 was a great year for Cabrera. His .346 batting average led the National League (though he's not getting the fancy "batting champion" title due to falling one plate appearance shy of qualifying, and some MLB damage control in changing the rules), and he posted a .906 OPS for the season. 2012 was the second straight great year for Cabrera after having a fantatstic season for the Royals, homering 18 times and stealing 20 bases while hitting .305 with an .809 OPS.
The 28-year old Cabrera joins a crowded Blue Jays outfield that has Jose Bautista holding the fort down in right field and Colby Rasmus tentatively starting in center. Toronto also has speedsters Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose in the fold, both of which could take playing time from Rasmus, who has struggled at times. By the same token, the Blue Jays could simply use Davis as the fourth outfielder and let the 22-year old Gose hone his offensive game a little more in the new AAA affiliate for the Blue Jays in Buffalo, a much more balanced environment for hitters in comparison to the extremely hitter-friendly field in Las Vegas.
The Blue Jays are really putting together a team that could be special. They still have some potential moves to be made with JP Arencibia, John Buck, and Bobby Wilson all behind the plate and top catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud waiting in the wings. Also, Adam Lind is still on the team and the Jays could look to acquire an upgrade over him at first base or DH, with incumbent Edwin Encarnacion playing the other position.
The salary for Cabrera also seems fair. It's a two-year deal, which isn't a crippling length for a player of Cabrera's age. At $8 million per season, Cabrera only gets a modest raise on the $6 million he made through arbitration last season. It's a very low risk/high reward deal for the Blue Jays, and with how good of a hitters park Rogers Centre is, a complete offensive collapse like the one Cabrera underwent in 2010 in Atlanta isn't very likely.
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