Sometimes a short term contract is a good thing. After all, the phrase “contract year” exists for a reason. Players play better, play harder, take the game more seriously when there’s significant money on the line. One look at the before and after years of players like Kelly Johnson just this last year reveal how magically something happens from one year to the next when money is involved.
That said, it’s easy to see why a team like the Kansas City Royals would take it easy with Melky Cabrera’s contract. He accomplished career highs in several categories last season in his first year with the Royals and was a gem on a last-place team. With 201 hits, he was over 50 higher than any of his previous six years in the Major Leagues. He hit .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homers and 87 RBI to go with 20 stolen bases. Those are all career numbers.
It’s easy to see how his gap power, decent speed and ability to make contact could be vital fixtures in a line-up. Thus, it’s curious why Dayton Moore recently said they were just going year-to-year with Cabrera. If that’s because that’s what the player wants, then that’s one thing. After all, he’ll have a chance to hit free agency in 2012 after seeing a career surge that came last year, so perhaps the Royals can’t lock him up.
Then again, most players want long-term security and Cabrera clearly hits well in Kansas City. He also has to realize the best is yet to come here. Full years from Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas will only enhance the line-up further along with the arrival of new additions this off-season. The Royals’ are a team on the rise and Cabrera could be a big part of that.
There’s no guarantee that current minor leaguers like Lorenzo Cain will make it in the majors and Cabrera just had the kind of year that should make Moore take notice. He was valuable across the board and was only 26 last season. He’s still coming into his prime and some team is going to reap the rewards of being the team that finally gives Cabrera some security at this stage. If the Royals can pull it off, it’d be worth exploring a long-term deal as long as they believe he can keep it up. But maybe that’s the question.
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