Earlier this week, Melky Cabrera with 2.148 years of playing time, joined 110 others in filing for salary arbitration. As a super-two, Melky could experience the trials and travails of salary arbitration.
In discussing the Melky situation earlier this week, Pete Abraham posted a question: “It’s easy to see how Nady and the Yankees could have something to talk about. Maybe even Bruney. But what could the possible holdup be with Melky? He should be happy to get a free appetizer at the new Hard Rock Cafe after how he played last season.”
It is an interesting question. Mostly, these salary arbitration cases are settled well in advance of a hearing. It’s certainly better for the two teams to settle on a figure before the Yanks go in and explain why Melky doesn’t deserve any money (not a tough arugment) and Melky explains why he deserves what would really be an inexplicable raise.
Since we haven’t had a chance to
dump on Melky dig into the erstwhile Yankee center fielder in a while, I thought about running a post on the arguments Melky could make. The only attribute of his that would ever warrant a raise is his arm. He managed seven assists last year and has 28 over his career. Otherwise, he put up a 68 OPS+ with a .249/.301/.341 line, most it coming in April. (He hit .235/.280/.286 over his final 98 games.)
Historically, Melky doesn’t stack up too well either. I ran his qualifications — age 23 season, 453 plate appearances, 68 OPS+ — through Baseball Reference’s Play Index, and his fellow underachievers do not make for a very promising list. In baseball history, only 24 players suffering through their age 23 seasons of the game have done as bad or worse than Melky did in 2008. None of those have really gone on to do much of anything.
I don’t like to see Melky be so bad. I’d much rather see Melky mature into a top-notch center fielder or at least an average one. I don’t, however, see what Melky has to gain by the arbitration process. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during that hearing.