Another bat. More lumber. Getting another hitter. This is probably the #1 item atop most fans wish list. Hitting has picked up lately but adding another strong bat to the lineup would make things look nicer. Much nicer. Bonds is still playing out of his gourd and you hope that he can hold up for the duration of the entire season. A couple of weeks ago the Giants ranked dead last in the NL in runs scored. As of today, they’ve leapfrogged all the way up to the #11 spot.
With Lincecum getting the call for tonights game, the Giants have a strength that they can deal from to acquire a hitter. That strength being pitching. Peter Gammons writes in his blog:
With Tim Lincecum coming up and Jonathan Sanchez in the shadows, the Giants are discussing shopping a starting pitcher to get a young position player. They would like Melky Cabrera, but it is doubtful the Yankees would consider Cabrera for Noah Lowry.
Stop the dream bus, I want off. Melky Cabrera is a nice young player but I have some doubts about him. What the Giants need is a solid bat to hit somewhere around Bonds and Cabrera is certainly not that. He’s basically a 4th OF at this point in his career with a lot of youth and maybe some promise.
Melky Cabrera was signed as a undrafted free agent by the Yankees in 2001 out of the Dominican Republic. His career minor league numbers are (.294/.347/.422). He had a breakout year in 2006 in which he hit (.280/.360/.391). Cabrera is a patient linedrive hitter with gap power. What’s not to like?
- For a corner outfielder, he doesn’t really hit enough. Think Randy Winn here. To have value on the Giants he would have to play centerfield, where Dave Roberts is already installed. Some think that Cabrera is stretched playing center, in 2006 he had a FRAA of 0 while playing CF. He’s a much better fielder in the corners, posting a FRAA of 6 in LF and 0 in RF. For those who aren’t familiar with FRAA, a 0 means that you are a average fielder. Scores above or under 0 mean that you are above average or below average respectively.
- Small sample size aside but so far this year Melky has struggled. His line for 2007 to this point is (.232/.288/.263). Chances are that he’ll improve on that line, as it’s still early in the season, but what if he doesn’t?
- I think that trading Lowry for Melky is selling low. In Melky’s successful 2006 he OPS+’d 100. Which meant that he was exactly league average. Lowry is signed to a cheap contract, is left handed, and if he can continue on his 2005 success he’ll be a bargain. In 2005 Lowry posted a ERA+ of 110, meaning that he was slightly better than a league average pitcher. This point is predicated on the notion that Lowry’s decline in ’06 was because of a oblique strain and not a decline in “stuff”.
Melky is a good young player that could potentially turn into a Bobby Abreu type player in a few years. Unfortunately, the Giants don’t have time to wait around to see if he develops. The team needs a solid, already established bat, that can hit in the middle part of the order around Bonds. Lowry is the strongest trading chip that Sabean currently has and should be spent wisely.