The post-Melky era has been weird. Good, as the Giants have gone 20-10, moving from a first-place tie to eight games up. But weird. It's probably because the whole thing was weird. Melky Cabrera was the punchline off the offseason. "Oh, like he's going to fix the offense." And then he did. He came out of the fog, helped repair a broken offense, and then disappeared into the fog as quickly as he arrived.
Also, the fog was made out of steroids.
But it's weird, right? One day there were people with milk man costumes running around the ballpark, there was a free car and an All-Star Game MVP, and he was forever rounding the bag at second, going to third on a close play. The next day, he was a phantom. An uncle you don't talk about because he did that thing back there and got put on that list or whatever, but we don't talk about that, okay?
At the time, there was a note that the 50-game suspension didn't necessarily end Melky's season. If the Giants advanced a round in the playoffs, he'd be available. Andrew Baggarly has more:
Cabrera could report to the Giants' complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., at any time, league officials confirmed to me. But Cabrera could not participate in any formal team activities on a rehab basis until he has served 40 games of his suspension. The only way the Giants could have Cabrera see live pitching is to send him to compete with their top prospects in instructional league. But he couldn't participate until Sept. 29 at the earliest, I'm told.
The article indicates that Melky is awaiting word and instruction from the Giants. Oh, Senator? You can have my answer now, if you'd like …
Which is to say, no. He's not coming back. He's a black eye on the organization. You're supposed to hold a raw steak up to a black eye, and the swelling will go down. No, no, that's a piece of toast, Giants. I said raw steak. You're … look, put Xavier Nady down, and … ah, forget it. But the swelling is down. And everyone's moved on. There is about a 0.0001-percent chance of Melky ever wearing a Giants uniform again.
So let's go into hypotheticals. Let's open a window into your soul and get some air in there. Would you want Melky Cabrera on any potential postseason rosters?
There's a baseball argument, I guess. He's had a couple of months off. He might not be as sharp. Who knows if he stayed in shape?
But that's a ridiculous baseball argument. If Pablo Sandoval broke his hamate bone on August 14 instead of earlier in the year, we'd all be breathlessly awaiting his return right now. If the doctors said he'd be available for a potential second round of the playoffs, I don't think there'd be anyone here who would say, "Nope, gotta start Joaquin Arias. Sandoval's probably too rusty." When Sandoval came back, he'd go right in the lineup. The difference between Melky and Gregor Blanco/Xavier Nady isn't much different than the gap in that scenario.
The arguments are more about a) ethics and b) continuity/clubhouse morale. Melky didn't address the team. He didn't apologize, he didn't show remorse. He just left. The players were reportedly (and understandably) pissed off about the whole thing. He will most certainly not be selected for Buster Posey's cabinet after the election. And with the Giants rolling after the suspension, why fix what ain't broke?
I understand that. And the difference between Melky and Gregor Blanco in a seven-game series isn't anything you can predict. For one memorable series, if I recall correctly, Cody Ross was much, much better than Chase Utley. Then the next season started, and they swapped places again. But in a short sample, you can't predict which player is going to get hot, so why bother tainting the clubhouse spirit?
That's a valid argument. But here's the important part for me: There's a great chance that on Oct. 11, Melky Cabrera would be the best left fielder available for the Giants.
The PR part, the clubhouse part, the distraction … none of that matters to me as much as that simple fact. Melky would certainly be better than whatever fifth outfielder the Giants are going to take along with them. And he'll be better than whoever's in the starting lineup.
I root for laundry. I put my hands together and shouted words of encouragement at Orel Hershiser once. I get that Melky's a shamed jackass, and that he's persona non grata in the clubhouse. But I also believe the Giants' odds would go from 24.9 percent in the NLCS, if they were to make it, to a cool 25 percent with Melky. Those numbers were pulled from my nether regions, but the sentiment w … well, the sentiment was too. Just wash your hands, you'll be fine.
The argument against boils down to the distraction of Melky harming the on-field play of the Giants more than his play would help. I've never been in a clubhouse, much less for 162 games, so I'm not going to purport to know which one would have a bigger impact. But from a fan's perspective, I want the Giants to set themselves up as best they can. Melky would give them the best chance.
Plus, he'd be all testosteroned up because no one would think he'd be stupid enough to try it again! Five homers in five at-bats, I'm telling you.
I vote yes on Proposition Melk, even if I know that it will never happen.