Much ado about Melky

Yanks unveil a sign etched in gold
An off-season poll

Okay, so we take a lot of flak on here for not being completely sold on Melky Cabrera. There are a number of attacks on our position:

– He’s only 23
– He’s already an above-average outfielder
– His stats compare well with Bernie’s
– We don’t need a 40-homer hitting center fielder

All of these points are valid, though they each have holes in them. Let’s go point-by-point.

He’s only 23

Since this is objective, there’s no denying it. The implication, though, is that he’ll improve over the next few years as he grows into his frame and continues to learn the game of baseball. It’s nice to assume that, but not every young player improves.

Take Melky’s most similar players through age 22. Yeah, it’d be superb to have him turn out like Chet Lemon, Harry Heilmann, or Roberto Clemente. Hell, I’d even sign up for Sixto Lezcano (a few well above-average years, average or above most others) or Max Carey (almost perfectly average).

But then you get guys like Rick Manning, who was good in his age 20 and 21 seasons, but completely sucked after that. Surely there were Indians fans back then saying “oh, he’s only 22, he’s going to improve.” And they saw him turn into a liability. Same with Cliff Heathcote. Solid first three seasons, and then off to the realm of mediocrity.

Just because a player is average when he’s young does not necessary mean that he’ll improve. As evidenced above, for every Chet Lemon there’s a Rick Manning. Melk could reasonably turn out to be either one, or he could split the difference. But in any event, his growth as a player is not guaranteed.

He’s already an above-average outfielder

If you’re talking strength and accuracy, I have no defense. We saw it constantly from Melky over the past two seasons. He’s got a cannon, and he can put the ball on button. Problem is, that’s not all there is to being a good center fielder.

Now, he’s young and decently speedy, so he can use that to make up for poor initial judgments on flyballs. However, there are plenty of pitfalls that come with this. Some day, his legs aren’t going to be what they once were. This could be because of injury or the natural tolls of age. But whatever it is, unless he learns to take better routes to flyballs, he’s not going to be a complete outfielder.

Melky ranked in the lower half of the league as a center fielder in Dave Pinto’s PMR. Now, this isn’t exact, nor is it all-telling. But it’s one measure that shows him getting to fewer balls, on average, than his peers. Even Zone Rating has him barely in the top-half of the AL, though he does look better when compared to the entire league.

In regards to defense, we often find ourselves trusting our eyes more than anything else. What I see with my eyes is a guy with decent range, but who rarely gets a good first step. He suffices in center for now, but unless he improves his skills at tracking flyballs, he’s going to become a liability out there one day. Thankfully, odds are that day doesn’t come for a while.

His stats compare well with Bernie’s

As you saw earlier this week, we we don’t buy into that logic very much. The game does extend beyond stats (hence the successes and failures of Melky’s most comparable list).

We’ve often mentioned the size difference between Bernie and Melky. Most places have this as three inches, though it’s probably closer to four. But in any regard, that’s not the issue. You can look to their swings as evidence of their dissimilarity.

This would be a whole ton easier if we had side-by-side animations of their swings, but suffice it to say that they’re not a whole ton a like. Bernie always had a short, compact swing. He had a sharp pivot on his back leg, and kind of threw the bat through the zone, a la Johnny Damon (though their swings aren’t comparable in many other ways). This is actually why Bernie declined so rapidly in his later years. He relied on his killer bat speed, for which he utilized his legs, abs, lower back, and arms. Once one of those cogs started to weaken, as they are wont to do when you’re over 30, his swing started to come apart.

Melky is frequently referred to as a “slap hitter,” mainly for his lack of power. To me, though, this moniker is well-deserved because of the way he swings his bat, not the result. To me, he looks all arms. He tosses the bat through the zone like Bernie and Damon, but he doesn’t utilize his core muscles as much as Bernie. Or at least that’s how it appears.

We don’t need a 40-homer hitting center fielder

Traditionally, center field is a defensive-minded position. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need heavy hitters in that position. For an example, we need to look no further than the Yankees dynasty. You know why the Yankees were able to succeed on offense during that time? They had heavy hitters in traditionally defensive-minded slots. Bernie in center, Derek at short, and Mariano Duncan (simply amazing in ’96) and Chuck Knoblauch at second.

So when we had to skimp in other places, like when we had Chad Curtis in left field, we could handle the offensive drop-off. When you have well above average players at certain positions, it lessens the need for superstars at others. How did the Yanks win the World Series in ’99 and ’00 with such a below-average offensive third baseman? Because we had Jorge catching, Bernie in center, Derek at short, and Knobby at second. Then all you need are average players at the other positions, because you’re generating so much more offense compared to the rest of the league from the premium positions.

No, it’s not critical to have a slugging center fielder on a championship team. But it sure does help. Yeah, we have a well above average third baseman, which helps offset the lack of production from some other positions. But it’s then tougher to field a league-average first baseman and corner outfielders (relative to their positions).

By no means do I want Melky to fail. He’s a New York Yankee, and goddammit, I hope he turns into Bernie Williams times a hundred. But there’s a point where what I’m seeing doesn’t match up to the hype.

So I’m not writing him off. I’m just remaining very skeptical until my eyes see otherwise.

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Yanks unveil a sign etched in gold
An off-season poll
  • Bo

    Is he a superstar?

    No. But he doesnt need to be at the moment.

    Maybe Ajax will pass and relegate him to RF or LF.

    • Glen L.

      I doubt Melky will EVER have the power to hack it as a corner OF (especially in LF where his cannon would not be nearly as valuable)

      • CLT_JR

        Again, if Ajax or Jose bring power to CF, then we can get by with less power in a corner OF position. See the article above.

  • CB

    Most of what people are reacting to is the notion you guys at RAB keep going over that Melky is “below average” and is “nothing more than a fourth outfielder.”

    I don’t thing there is that much Melky “hype” quite honestly. Sure a few people think he’s going to be terrific but that’s said about a lot of players.

    I think most people who take exception to this feel that there is a good chance that Melky will become at least a league average offensive centerfielder.

    That’s not a really unreasonable expectation given what he’s done.

    So are you guys skeptical that he will be a league average centerfielder?

    I think it’s hard to be skeptical about that given the generally low bar of productivity from that spot in the order and what Melky has demonstrated already. Last year he had an OPS of .718 while the median OPS for a centerfielder was around .760.

    That’s not really that much of a difference, especially considering he’s 22.

    I’m skepticall he’ll ever be Bernie Williams, never mind a Carlos Beltran type. I’m not so skeptical he’ll be league average offensively and above average defensively.

    That’s more than adequate for the yankee needs over the next couple of years.

    • RollignWave

      Exactly.

      But actually, the MEDIAN on CF last season was 88 OPS+ , the MEANS was the higher one (not surprising considering that the better guys gets more PAs)

  • Glen L.

    A lot of this, I feel, was born of the talk about signing Cameron and trading Melky for a relief arm (perhaps Marte) … I personally felt, and others did as well, that Cameron would provide equal to or better defense than Melky while providing better slugging. Cameron would keep the seat warm for Ajax for 2 years, and Melky would have been traded for a much needed lefty in the pen.

    People seemed to get upset by the notion that Cameron might be an improvement over Melky and things spiraled out of control from there. Currently, Melky IS below average .. I could certainly see him becoming average, but if you can sign a guy to be pretty much equal to what Melky brings overall (albeit in different ways) AND get a good lefty reliever int he process, why not do it?

    anyway Cameron’s a beer maker and Melky’s our CF .. i’m fine with this because he probably can be a league average CF and with the current yankee line-up that’s all we need

  • Ivan

    Here’s my thing with Melky, While I definity don’t hate the guy, I certainly not in loved with either. If the yankees can trade Melky for something (like a bobby Jenks) then yeah.

    I think Melky is okay, but he does get overrated by people. Although he does get too much flack. Lets see what Melky does this year and beyond.

  • http://samiamsports.blogspot.com SAMIAMSPORTS

    I totally agree with you. which is why we must trade him NOW while people still see him as a decent chip with Potential(alla aaron small). Then let ajax slide into that role whenever hes ready. all he is and all he ever will be is an above average 4th outfielder

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees EJ

    Well said Joe. I think that you guys acknowledge that Melky has a chance of blossoming into some kind of star, even if that chance isn’t all that likely. In terms of Melky slowing down, most studies point to age 24-25 as the peak of a player’s defensive ability, so his ability to play center may not last very long at all.

    My thought: I’m willing to give him 1 more year to start to show something. Melky/Damon/Matsui at CF/LF/DH is a better team than Damon/Matsui/Giambi in my opinion, especially if Melky hits a little bit. I think that it’s very important to note that Melky has suffered from very poor finishes so far in his career. Now, that could be a sample size problem or a long-term problem for Melky, but it could also have to do with the conditioning/adaptability situation of a very young player.

    If I combine (along very arbitrary lines, I know), the May-August of both his seasons, cutting out two horrible Septembers, I’m looking at an .800+ OPS player.

    So I think that there are certainly some signs that there is a potential for a turnaround.

  • Rob

    You left out the objectivity of his May through August stretch last year!!! The one where he put up .300/.350/.450 for four months. Am I supposed to believe that’s a fluke!?

    It’s very easy to explain away his April and September. It’s much harder to do so for the other four months. And then he had corner outfield power.

    You’ve also ignored the extreme groundball rates that Sheehan pointed to. Sure, Melky could always remain a slap hitter. But when he elevates the ball, as he did for the majority of last year, he shines.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      A few errors in there. First, Melky put the ball on the ground a whole ton more than in the air last year. 1.81 ratio. So he didn’t elevate the ball for the majority of last year.

      Second, it could easily be a fluke. See: Cory Patterson.

      Third, the groundball thing is kind of misleading. Bernie Williams made a career off putting the ball on the ground far more than he did in the air. The years he came closer to a 1:1 ratio were among the worst years of his career. So this whole groundball stat holds little water with me, especially when Sheehan uses a player of completely different physical stature as a basis of comparison.

    • Rob

      That’s all fine, but the critical question, based on Sheehan’s analysis, would seem to be: Did he put the ball in the air more or less in May – August than he did in April and September? That’s the hypothesis.

      I know from watching him that when he’s going good he’s driving the ball up. When he’s going bad he drills it into the ground.

      The difference seems like it could be learned with maturation as a hitter. That’s the critical question. It *could* be a fluke, but we have absolutely no way of knowing one way or another.

      Sure, include Melky in a trade for Santana. But he would be very silly in a trade for a relief pitcher.

      Is the Corey Patterson the comp when Melky breaks out in his year 23? :)

  • Bo

    What hype is there about Melky?

    No one anywhere was calling him a top level prospect at any time.

    There is no hype with him. Hes earned it by being productive.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      He’s earned it by being fake productive while surrounded by a lineup of hitters that get on base and generally make it more desirable for pitchers to pitch to Melky. A career OPS+ of 90 isn’t productive.

  • Realist

    Any comparisons to Bernie need to stop….first off it is unlikely he will attain that status AND unfair to him. He’s a nice player that would be better suited at the corners , which I among others have said ad naseum , though doesn’t posses the power associated there. Hey , if he does improve his power enough , then great move him to the corner…I just don’t see it. Though I have been wrong many times before.

  • RZG

    You guys are reading more and more like waswatching, and I don’t mean it as a compliment.

    Even your style is getting similar – picking some points as if they are all of the points and then grinding on them.

    I get it, you don’t think he’s good and he’s your Moby Dick.

    In my opinion your constant bludgeoning is like a skipping record (CD? MP3?).

    I do appreciate you putting the word “MELKY” in the headline since it’s easier to skip the topic. Please continue to do that so I don’t need to bother to read the same old stuff.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    You guys are reading more and more like waswatching, and I don’t mean it as a compliment.

    That is categorically untrue. We back up our stubborn viewpoints with facts and figures as opposed to blanket statements and generalizations about Brian Cashman’s inability to foretell the future. We’re also picking all the points. A month-by-month breakdown of Melky Cabrera’s OPS doesn’t prove anything other than the long-held belief that month-by-month breakdowns, by themselves, show the flaws of evaluating a baseball player on too small a sample size. We’re not ignoring because it doesn’t fit our argument; we’re ignoring it because it’s bad analysis.

    That being said, we do recognize that there are only so many times we can write the same thing about Melky. Some people love him; others – like us – are skeptical. Only time will tell who’s right.

    • RZG

      I’m a Melky skeptic, but I wish you WOULD recognize there’s only so many times you can rehash the same things about him.

      It makes me wish Hank would come out telling the media he’s both in and out at the same time for getting Santana just to change the subject from one tired one to another.

  • Realist

    Hey Ben ,

    What are your thought’s on Heath Phillips? I know there is another thread way down there regarding this , just curious on your take? Strickland as well…

  • Ben B.

    It might be interesting to know whether evaluators within the organization have identified these weaknesses and are working with him during the offseason and/or plan to do so during ST. Is he still young enough to make a significant swing adjustment? I would think so. When he does hit HRs, it looks like he really gets his body (torso more than legs) into the ball. (Unfortunately, this appears to happen sort of by accident.) Maybe this is something he can work on. He would likely fair better driving the ball than slapping at it. And getting better reads on flyballs is absolutely something that a fielder can improve on if he applies himself.

  • Jon

    I think part of the problem is that when you guys analyze Melky it comes off extremely negatively. Almost as if you are scoffing at the idea that Melky can be a solid player and anyone who feels that way.

    Clearly you don’t mean it that way but I bet that’s how some people are picking it up.

    • Rob

      That’s exactly it. For the first you guys are uniting around one interpretation of the evidence AND making it seem like that’s the only interpretation. That’s why i joked about the Corey Patterson comp. Melky comes out and has an improved year 23, and do you still dismiss him?

      In science we ask, what set of results would disprove your hypothesis. So let me ask:

      Short of something silly (900 OPS), what does Melky have to do next year to get you guys to change your minds?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

        It’s more than numbers I’m looking for. As I said, his approach at the plate is my biggest concern.

        That said, if he puts up a .280/.360/.420 line, I’d be more than satisfied.

      • Rob

        Great, I think he’ll do better than that. And if he doesn’t Damon and Gardner will be taking playing time from him. Either way, they’re covered. Even more reason to see what Melky’s got.

  • Rob

    “We’re not ignoring because it doesn’t fit our argument; we’re ignoring it because it’s bad analysis”

    Just admit it. You have no counter-argument except “Fluke!”. I can explain his non-productive months much better than that dismissal of his very productive months. Regardless, the only thing we can do is wait and see because of his small sample of two seasons.

    That said, I think Melky has room for improvement but you trade him in the right deal. Santana is the right deal. A relief pitcher – not at all.

    You know, this whole argument smacks of Wang and K rates. Sure, you can really get worked up about the stats but at some point you just have to say “I don’t know” with young players. With Melky we’re at that point.

    • Glen L.

      I fail to see the comparison to Wang and K rates … K rates are one of the only indicators of a pitcher’s performance … if Wang had an even worse defense behind him, his hits would certainly go up because of how many balls he allows to be put into play … i’m not saying Wang isn’t a good pitcher and that the balls put into play aren’t hit weakly due to his sinker .. just that he needs a defense behind him to succeed

      anyway .. what does that have to do with the arguments about melky have an ops+ of 89 last year and it being (probably) foolish to think he’ll ever be anything more than an average player (let alone a stud)

      its not a knock on the kid .. average players are important to baseball teams

      • ceciguante

        to attempt to decipher rob’s point, i think his reference to wang’s K rates is to say something like: a young and inexperienced player with one or more stats that are below average does not necessarily justify a conclusion that the player a) is not valuable, or b) will not improve. wang only has 3 seasons and is going on 28; melky 2 seasons and going on 25.

        so, is melky below average for a MLB OFer in power and routes to fly balls? sure, just as wang is below avg in K rate. both players might improve in these areas, regardless of which fancy stats are regurgitated to say they will/won’t. does melky NEED to improve in these areas? depends on how he’s going to be payed & used. nobody really knows. this issue is beaten to death now. R.I.P.

        aside: i just wish people would stop talking about relief pitchers like they’re unimportant, when they’ve cost the yanks how much heartache this decade, and they are basically rolling out ham n’ eggers at that position yet again (unless joba takes the 8th). i would definitely consider trading melky for a good RP — they are crucial.

      • Rob

        Thanks for the clarification. Melky’s 23 though. Even more reason to wait and see.

    • Rob

      “it being (probably) foolish to think he’ll ever be anything more than an average player (let alone a stud)”

      There is very little evidence to argue one way or another what Melky will be. That’s why his similarity comps are all over the place. Right now he really could be anything based strictly on what he’s already done at his age. He could be out of baseball in a few years. He could be an average player for ten years. Or he could be Clemente or Bernie. We have no way of knowing. Folks are only reacting, rightly, to the certainty this discussion has fostered. That certainty is based on nothing more than opinions with pseudo-sabermetric overtones.

      When the argument was to include Melky in a trade for Santana, there was no argument from me. But as far as his true value goes, we have no way of knowing right now and for another two or three years.

      Again, I’ll ask: What does Melky have to do this year to prove you doubters wrong?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        Improve. That’s all. He didn’t do that last year.

      • Rob

        There’s a legit reason to take September out of the equation for a 22 year old.

        Still, I doubt improvement is enough. I’m looking for a SLG of .425 to .450.

  • Realist

    Clemente or Bernie????????????? You have lost anty credibility you may have had! Are you his agent , cousin , friend , or lover????

    I know your argument WAS that he wasn’t worth a reliever…I guess Papelbohn , KRod, and several other elite relievers aren’t worthy of him? Hell , Marte , Street , or Nathan would improve this team WAY more than Melky being Melky would.

    You are only on here to argue and quite frankly you are tiresome and make no sense!

    • Rob

      His similarity comps say Clemente. Our knowledge of early 90’s Yankees say Bernie. I didn’t say he will turn out that way. But there’s a chance he could. His numbers so far at a young age leave that chance open.

      By the way, the Sox had a sure thing trading for Gagne. How’d that turn out again?

  • Realist

    Hell , Melky can’t even play CF worth a shit! He ONLY has a arm and a fine one at that….but he can be replaced.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Was the great Clemente used on this topic.Whats next we are gonna compare Pedro to Ian Kennedy.Never heard anything worse since Pujos being better then Cepeda in the best of first base in the all latino all-star team or when Joe Morgan beat out Roberto Alamor as best defensive second baseman of all time.

  • Rob

    Similar batters through age 22:
    1. Sixto Lezcano (974)
    2. Max Carey (973) *
    3. Chet Lemon (970)
    4. Rick Manning (969)
    5. Harry Heilmann (967) *
    6. Roberto Clemente (966) *
    7. Cliff Heathcote (963)
    8. Carlos May (963)
    9. Les Mann (962)
    10. Jimmy Sebring (961)

    * = HOF

    Argue with the numbers all you’d like, kids.

  • Realist

    Brett Gardner could probably hit .270 in this LOADED lineup and steal 30 plus bases while covering faaaaaaaaaaaar more ground. Not to mention coming close to Melky’s HR total?

    • RollignWave

      Errr hell no no and no.

      The silliest notion I see around here is people bashing Melky (which isn’t completley unreasonable but probably overdone) but then have complete faith in Gardner at the same time. the irony is extremely obivious…

      Melky now has 15 big league HR, I’d seriously wager that Gardner never come close to that career HR total. Melky doesn’t have much pop, but putting him in Gardner teritory power is simply ridiculas beyond comprehention

      They essentially share similar weakness but I’d take Melky’s strength any time. both are reasonablly good range in CF (Gardner wins here but not by a whole lot) taht often take bad routs, they both hacks, but Cabrera has been much more consistent in hitting for average in the minors AND in the majors. while Cabrera’s HR ceiling in the majors is probably no higher than 15 per year, Gardner ‘s over under in a year if someone give him a full time job might be 3 at best.

      look, speed is nice, but you need to realize that it takes at around 5 SB to be worth 1 HR. just consider for a sec how many SB (subtracting the CS too) you need to make up for a 10 HR differnence.

  • Nefarious Jackson

    this site has become a fucking bore, wake me up when you clowns write about something other than how you think melky sucks, this has gotten old

  • Steve S

    I think the criticism has been unfair and Melky has been right around average. Especially considering the way they handled him last year and at the start of his career. I think a better evaluation is to limit the comparisons to the current centerfielders in the league. I think these are your upper echelon in no particular order

    Suzuki, Wells, Sizemore, Granderson, Beltran

    Then the rookies who look pretty good

    Upton (both Justin and BJ), Hunter Pence, Ellsbury (arguable), Adam Jones, Maybin

    Then the borderline guys who may currently be better than Melky but looking at the contracts and age are probably not better fits:

    Cameron, Crisp, Matthews, Lofton, Hunter, Rowand, Damon (we know this), Tavares, Hamilton, Patterson, Pierre.

    If I missed someone sorry, Im doing this off the top of my head. However, looking at that secondary list, I dont think Melky compares that badly to these guys, considering his skill level now and his price tag and age. He may be the perfect fit for this team right now. And the argument that his trade value his high now, thats a complete farce, his second year showed some holes. And its not just some people here who think that. Thats why at his price, his abilities, and the lack of other available options make him right and worth holding onto. He is the Yankees starting center fielder, he shouldn’t be a piece in a deal to get a lefthanded setup man. And I have to say Mike Cameron is fine, but he has an injury history now, he is over 35 and he is only available for 140 games this year and thats before a possible injury. And considering the fact that Austin Jackson has performed for half of season and a winter league, Melky might be a viable option for the next couple of years and the safer bet until we know what Jackson or Tabata turn into.

    Everyone here has gone gaga over the the three pitchers and while they will hopefully mean a lot more to this franchise. Melky may just be one of those guys that fills a hole and a need. He doesnt have to be Bernie in order to get in the lineup. And as for the defensive stuff. I dont like range factor and the concept that he gets bad first steps is based more on him making it look sloppy rather than how graceful Bernie or Devon White make it look. He is in the best the centerfielder I have ever seen but he isnt below average, just look at the two guys who play left field for gods sake.

    • RollignWave

      Vernon Wells sucked in 07, just to point out, he hit .245/.304/.402 , he was terrible , he was the most expensive player on that team and he was worse than Cabrera.

  • Realist

    Kids, lol! I am 41 …no kid! Your numbers don’t have any of those players hitting in a lineup as strong as The Yankees. Plus I only see a couple of those who are noteworthy? I wonder how great Kevin Maas’s numbers looked compared to the alltime greats in 1989 or 1990?

  • Realist

    Who cares about Gagne? The numbers point out that he is like clemente??? Good thing ball players play on a field and not paper like stat geeks seem to think is the measure!

  • Old Ranger

    What is the fight about? We all hope that Melky improves this year, right! He is young with a lot of energy, and this year he is the starting CF. Last year he started out on the bench and didn’t hit well until they put him in CF for good. After that he wore down at the end of the year. Remember he had always played less games and had always been a starter….this is one reason most of the good utility players are older. Let’s see what he can do this year, hopefully better than last year. 27/08

  • Realist

    I apologise Old Ranger and the rest of the crew! This guy has been arguing this nonsense to an annoying point and using ridiculous comparables….plus pointing out spelling and grammatical errors to hide how lame his argument is. He can email me to continue it and I hope he does but know a coward when I see one ;-)
    But I digress……..Go Yanks!

  • RichYF

    Lol, my day has been made. Thanks guys.

  • Rich

    I never knew that Melky was such a lightening rod issue.

    I think the starting point, as CB said, is whether or not Melky can be league average, which for a CFer means about a .790 OPS. I think that’s well within the realm of the possible.

    If you accept that premise, the next question is do the Yankees have a better all around option in CF? IMO, the answer is no, at least until A-Jack is ready.

    Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t trade him in the right deal, because I would. But I don’t think he is an asset that should be squandered either.

  • daneptizl

    Come on guys…. If Joba who everyone loves, had his top 10 comparisons be good pitchers with a few great pitchers like Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, and Clemens, you guys would love that because you believe he can take that path. The comparisons that are made are from stat lines that compare well through their careers at their equivalent ages. The comparisons simply tell who their careers through their respective ages compare to from history, not who they are to become. AND, the reason that they made an article about it was because people criticized them for their views on Melky and they just wanted to give their thoughts on why they think what they think. DISCLAIMER: This site is not the Bible, Torah, Quran, etc….. they’re not telling you to think like they do, just explaining why they are right. Much love everyone (<3).

  • brxbmrs

    No bigger Melk fan than me. Rather than rehash all the stuff I’ve given on Melk, let me just say that regardless of Dave Pinto (who needs help) and the popular criticism of taking “bad routes to balls – which every CF is guilty of at times – anyone see Aaron Rowand in the playoffs? – Melk as others have stated is our best internal option right now.

    I loved Roberto Kelley – I was concerned when they traded him for a platoon corner ofer named O’Neill (although Kelley was 27 and got more playing time than Melk has) but for me, Melk is a much better CFer than the aging Bernie, Womack or Lofton – 4th ofers don’t lead all MLB Cfers in assists nor do they place at the very top in RF and ZR.

    Gardner hit 1 HR the last two seasons in the minors – can you just imagine what the RAB boys will be saying about him after a month?

    Melk also K’d (per # of AB’s) the least of all the Yanks – and the arguement that he got 73 RBI’s in the loaded Yanks lineup works just the same for Matsui (who hit .185 in September) and 16 mil Bobby Abreu who had 3 RBI’s the last half of September.

    Unless Melk brings back something of real value -as a piece of a big deal or for another young guy, there is no sense in trading him – he’s young, cheap, durable and is the best defensive ofer at all 3 of positions.

    AGAIN WITH a young rotation and aging Moose and non K guys like Wang and Pettitte, we need a guy who can catch the ball and throw it – if all the other guys in the lineup do their job, Melk’s offense is the least of anyones concerns.

    FWIW< Tony Franklin a few years back said MElk would win a batting title (he actually said this about Cano as well) – for me if Melk turns into a .290/.370/.450 guy he’s fantastic – and I think he’s got a shot – give him 2 years.

    Melk on September 2 this year was .297/.349/.432 – he tired bad in September (AND THAT”S WHEN HIS CRITICS ALSO NOTED SOME OF THE BAD ROUTES TO BALLS) – I believe he just couldn’t hack the full season at age 23 – hopefully he gets in better shape and gets stronger as he ages.

    Joba doesn’t get bitten by the midges Melk’s a post season hero – crushing a HR and throwing out a guy at the plate – pretty nice game for a guy so unjustly judged after 1,000 AB’s – and we’ve seen him do big things in alot of games the last few years – he’s a much better option than a 32 year old 90 mil Torii Hunter or a mess like Mike Cameron – who hit 30 HR’s for the Mets after the MEts were totally done – when tehy needed him he hit under .200.

    • Count Zero

      This is a solid argument — well done. Robbing Manny comes to mind as another big-time play.

      And I have to agree with you and several others regarding the rose-colored glasses on Gardner that come off as soon as Melky enters the room. Either one of them could end up being good CFers — but I think Gardner’s chances are even slimmer than Melk’s.

  • jew4jeter

    Agree with everything brxbmrs had to say. I wonder how everyone would be talking if Melky got hurt on 9/2 last year…

  • Rob

    Me too. Well said, brxbmrs.

  • Rob

    P.s. Would we be having this discussion if Melky finished the year at .297/.349/.432?

    I don’t think so. Seems weird to judge a 22 year old so harshly because he tired during the longest season of his career – most games played and most ABs.

  • http://lbaprequel.xesf.net/ LBA Prequel

    Well, I guess I now know for sure that Melky sucks. I mean, I was on the fence, but after having it repeatedly drilled into my head here, I guess I can finally drink the kool-aid. Melky sucks! Oh, and btw, Melky really, really, really sucks.

    Did I mention that he sucks?

    Oh, because I didn’t want anyone to miss that point.

    I think you folks can guess which option I’ll be picking in the poll. Stop hating on Melky, find something else to talk about during the silly season…

  • eric from morrisania

    Here’s my question that maybe can eliminate some of the animosity here.

    For people who are NOT convinced that Melky is a future Hall of Famer: How many of you think he’s an overrated bum who must be replaced ASAP, and how many think he’s a valuable player who is league average, at worst, and would like to keep him but do consider him expendable in the right deal?

    I think some of the quote-unquote “Anti-Melky” camp, which I would include myself in, are being a bit mischaracterized here. I like Melky – he’s a decent hitter, nothing special, but certainly not a train wreck and good enough to hit in the bottom third of the order and maybe even leadoff in spot duty; he’s young and fairly durable, so he may improve; and he’s a quality defensive player who can handle CF, which is very important for us in particular as the rest of our OF options are all poor fielders. All things being equal, I’d be hard pressed to deal him straight up for many players, because unless we’re getting back someone who could approximate his value in the things he does well, we’d be creating a hole in our team.

    That being said, we need to remember why many Yankee fans like myself have been so ready to include him in the Santana deal – because he’s unquestionably at the bottom of the prospect hierarchy. If there was a deal that would make our team considerably better and the other team demanded a young, cost-controllable position prospect, the players we have that have interest to other teams that fit that description are as follows:

    Robbie Cano
    Melky Cabrera
    Austin Jackson
    Jose Tabata
    Jesus Montero

    If I had to give up on the future of one of those players, it’s going to be Melky every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Melky is not nearly as good as Cano, and while Jackson, Tabata, and Montero may never pan out, all of them clearly have shown potential ceilings that Melky never did.

    For me, this is not about hating Melky, it’s about the lesser of two evils. I’m not going to say that he’s the easiest to replace, because if he was that easy to replace we’d already have his replacement under contract. But, I definitely fear the prospect of Jose Tabata or Jesus Montero hitting homers for the Twins or the Mariners or the Reds more than I do Melky. I don’t want to live without him, but I can if it will bring me a dominant player in pinstripes.

  • Kevin23

    holy crap…between homosexual accusations and keyboards going up the ass, I got to thinking:

    If a .280 hitter with a great arm and decent range in Center can cause such robust debate about whether he sucks or not, maybe the Yankees are doing a hell of a lot better than I thought.

  • Old Ranger

    Now, Now Children!
    If you must fight…keep it off this site!
    I love fighting…hence, my name!
    But this is getting ridiculous, take it to the e-mails. Let us enjoy our comments, granted, maybe a little less without you 2 guys…but we will over come. 27/08

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