That gives us a four-year, $46.2 million deal for Cabrera. And Assuming Cabrera demands five years, we can add in the final year on Rios’ deal, giving us a five-year, $58.7 million deal. Either way, Cabrera will make slightly over $10 million per season.
Going back to Gordon’s deal, this actually makes sense. Gordon is our most recent comparison and he only made $37.5 million over four years. But since Melky will hit the market, he’ll likely command a larger salary. It looks like anywhere between $45 million to $60 million is what it’s going to take to sign Cabrera.ogc Thoughts
The media reported that the Giants supposedly started by offering a contract similar to what the Padres recently signed Quentin to, 3 years, $27M. I agree with Shankbone's comment in the comments that, if this was true, it was a good cautious first offer. Given his poor numbers previously, particularly his fitness issues when he was with the Braves, I have to think that most teams are going to be cautious with their offers.
However, all you need is one big spender to upset the cart, and now that the Dodgers are owned by owners with deep pockets, they could be a big spender, particularly since they could be looking for a LF in the off-season. My hope there is that they take a liking to Victorino and sign him to be their lead-off hitter and LF, which would mean that they don't have any place to put Melky and thus no reason to sign him.
The Yankees could pursue him as well, but with Brett Gardner looking ready to make the majors, they would have Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher, and, again, no need for a Melky, unless he wants to become a DH. Plus, he wasn't treated the best there either, he was left with a bad taste in that parting.
I think the timing is very interesting. It sounds like the Giants approached Melky's agents in the period just before the trade deadline. For them to say that they will wait until the off-season to negotiate suggests to me that Melky's agents are thinking much bigger numbers than the Giants either are seeing or willing to pay. Then all of a sudden the Giants go out and trade for Pence, pulling the trigger on something they had been thinking about for over a year now.
I have to think that these are related events. Sabean hates being behind the 8-ball in negotiations with anybody. It helped that he had already targeted Pence before, so it became a matter of seeing what the Phillies wanted in return, instead of Houston, who I think wanted Wheeler and Brown. Luckily, they could use a nice young developing catcher as the value of the deal, plus we could throw in Schierholtz, who is not so bad a ballplayer, great off the bench at minimum, and maybe he ignites playing in a ballpark that favors LH power hitters like him, and Rosen, who looks like he'll be a major league reliever at minimum. The Astros can't really use someone like Schierholtz, but for a team still hoping to compete for the playoffs in coming years, the Phillies find a lot of value in a player like Schierholtz.
Win-Win for the Giants
This helps the Giants and Sabean two ways. First off, what a great lineup we have this season. I see people talking about Cabrera, Posey, Pence, Sandoval as 3-6 hitters, but that is a huge waste of Sandoval's offensive talents to bat him 6th. Once he returns to the lineup, they must bat 2-5, most baseball theories revolve around putting your best hitters 2-5, you never, ever, put your arguably best hitter in the 6th spot. If Bochy does that for any length of time, my respect for him would go down (but would still be high).
Secondly, the need to keep Melky (and thus his leverage) goes down greatly, because we will still have Sandoval, Posey, Pence for 3-4-5 next season. And odds are that the Giants will be able to keep one of Theriot or Scutaro to start at 2B and bat second in the lineup. Either would do well there, though I think it more likely that Theriot will be retained than Scutaro, both for age and probable cost, unless Scutaro really likes it here. Plus, Noonan has been doing nicely in AAA this season, he could be ready for major league playing time next season.
And the way Pagan has hit this year should kill off any more talk about him making over $12M per year, which I thought was way over his worth. He seems to like it here, so I think that something in the 2-3 year range, for $6-7M per season, is probably more in line with his worth. The Giants could decide to sign him and make him our leadoff guy, or if Blanco is able to adjust during the off-season (not doing good job of it this season), he could be our leadoff guy, or our cheap starter, batting 8th and lending a leadoff presence down there. Plus, Brown looks like he could be ready for the majors by mid-next season.
Future Looks Bright
On top of that, I think Belt's apprenticeship in the majors should be nearing an end by next season. I've been observing his contact rate trends during the season and, based on how the Giants have been using him, they are pretty well attuned to when he's on and when he's not, using him less when he's off, and using him daily when he's on. Even at that, his batting line for the season would be good enough to bat 7th and not hurt the lineup, and with the high OBP, he could probably be OK batting 6th. But he's really been good this month, in making contact, so he could be ready now, he just needs to go out and perform the same for the rest of the season.
Furthermore, Crawford has been improving as the season progressed as well, and I think he should be nearing the end of his apprenticeship as well. If he can hit as well as I hope, he would be OK batting 7th in any lineup, and thus great batting 8th, if that is where he ends up. I've been impressed with his ability to make contact, and when he is going good, he also gets walks as well. That plus some pop in his bat and his gold glove caliber defense, makes his a valuable cheap asset at SS for us.
All of this adds up to the Giants being prepared by Sabean to move on from Melky, if he decides that money is worth more than the adulation he has received here in SF. But if we are able to sign him for fair money - which right now seems to be in the $10-12M range, but he could get a whole lot more if he's able to sustain his high performance to the end of the season - then, wow, what a lineup the Giants would have for the next 3-4 seasons (assuming Pence is signed long-term). And who knows, maybe the Giants bid to keep him if he's able to keep it going.
The offense would be good on its own standing, not just because our pitching is so great, and, of course, we would still have that great pitching, with a lot of young starting pitchers like Heston, Kickham, Crick, Blackburn making their way up to the majors in the coming years.
This is very much in line with the vision I had a few years back that the Giants have a good chance to be the Team of the Decade for the 2010's. Only better, because all I could see back then was Posey and Sandoval for the offense, so I was hoping that the pitching could carry the offense for many years. But the addition of Brown and Panik improved my outlook, then the surge by Belt really heartened me, and now the additions of Melky and Pence has just about put me up on top in terms of enthusiasm and excitement over the future of the Giants in the 2010 Decade.
But, and this has been my but for a long while, this all depends on Giants ownership to deliver the financial wherewithal to finance this vision of dominance. They need to step up to the plate and hit a homerun by getting all of these players signed long-term, per Sabean's statement to the press when Pence was traded for, that he went to ownership and got assurances that the Giants could afford to sign both Pence and Melky to long-term extensions. As Marty Lurie was saying on KNBR over the weekend, if it is just a matter of a million or two in order to keep Melky, hopefully the Giants will do that.
I'm also hoping that Melky will give a hometown type of discount or preference due to the way he has been embraced by the fanbase, particularly the Melkmen and Melkmaids who now patrol the park. He's now been around enough to know that if you have a manager who believes in you and that you have a good relationship with, that is valuable. And if he were to move on, the fanbase could quickly turn on him if things go south, whereas he has built up a lot of good-will with the Giants fanbase already.
I don't blame his agents for asking for a lot initially - I would do, that is their fiduciary responsibility - but I also hope that they are realistic as well once free agency opens up for them, and not stubborn holding out for some outlandish number they hope to get, and play to the market forces. Hopefully his long road to stardom has put some humbleness into Melky and his advisors.