There are plenty of rumors flying around this offseason when it comes to the free agents the Baltimore Orioles are possibly linked to. Josh Hamilton is the biggest name they’ve been rumored to have interest in, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering he’s the best free agent available and is that middle of the order bat the team could use. If the cost ends up going beyond Dan Duquette’s comfort level, which is very likely the case, then he could end up looking elsewhere for someone who offers a good level of production with the bat and can also play left field.
Even though the team has reached out, and made an undisclosed offer, to left fielder Nate McLouth that’s no guarantee he will sign on the dotted line now that he’s reestablished himself as a viable option for teams who have a need in the outfield. So, instead of the Orioles waiting around to see if he is coming back or not, perhaps now is the time to explore other options.
One such option is Melky Cabrera, who was suspended for 50 games in August for a failed drug test – he had synthetic testosterone in his blood – and then it was discovered that a fake website was created in an effort to fool the player’s union into overturning the suspension. How would a fake website have fooled the baseball players union and MLB investigators you ask? Well, it’s simple – the website was being created to ‘prove’ that Cabrera failed his drug test due to purchasing tainted supplements from said website.
I’m sure Cabrera has his supporters out there, but let’s just say I’m on the fence leaning more towards the side of not being one. In my eyes this is a classic case of buyer beware, and it has nothing to do with concerns over future performance because I actually do believe he is talented enough to put up numbers similar to his 2011 season. Instead, my non-support of him has everything to do with his character, or lack thereof, and the potential negative impact he could have on the Orioles clubhouse.
Furthermore, what message would the Orioles be sending if they signed a guy that not only cheated by using performance enhancers, but also worked with an associate of the agency that represents him to try to cover it up by purchasing several websites and then displaying fake advertisements for a ‘product’ that he claimed was tainted, thus causing his positive test, in an effort to fool MLB investigators.
Perhaps Cabrera has learned his lesson in regards to using performance enhancers – after all, it’s not like he’s the only current major leaguer to have used them and I can guarantee that there are other active players currently using them that have not been caught yet. While that’s certainly not a way to excuse what he did, or possibly tried to do, I’m not above giving second chances.
If the Orioles were to take a chance on Cabrera then I believe a one year, maybe with a team option for a second year, would be in order for the 28-year old outfielder. This would all come down to cost, mind you, and that’s why I believe a one year deal worth upwards of $8 million dollars would be a good deal for the team to pursue.