Melky Cabrera was having an MVP-like season before testing positive for steroids and earning a 50-game suspension. It was a big blow to the Giants, as most wrote them off due to the lack of pop in their offense. But San Francisco went on to win the World Series, so it wasn’t so bad. Cabrera, meanwhile, was kept off the playoff roster and left to stew in the embarrassment of PEDs and a fake website.
Steroids in baseball is a touchy subject – it was so recently rampant in the big leagues that anyone caught using is immediately demonized. But players will continue to use PEDs because of the competitive edge. In the mind of a player fighting for a job, for instance – and a career, really – getting caught only results in the same unemployed reality that not juicing would have already guaranteed.
Melky Cabrera, for the most part, has been a fringe MLB outfielder. Sometimes good enough to start, sometimes not. A plug and play. That’s why he’s bounced around from the Yankees to the Braves to the Royals and finally to the Giants in 2012. Except 2012 was also Cabrera’s rebirthing, as he was on pace for career highs in runs scored, walks, RBIs, batting average and on-base percentage. Then he was caught taking steroids and it all fell apart.
Or did it?
It was announced earlier today that Cabrera signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. According to Baseball-Reference, this $8 million per year deal is the largest of his career on an annual basis.
2007: New York Yankees – $432,000
2008: New York Yankees – $461,200
2009: New York Yankees – $1,400,000
2010: Atlanta Braves – $3,100,000
2011: Kansas City Royals – $1,250,000
2012: San Francisco Giants – $6,000,000
Say what you want about how shameful steroid use is, that nothing is worth a man’s reputation or that it’s bad for a person’s health. And who knows how much the steroids actually helped anyway, or when he even started taking them. But Melky’s the richest he’s even been, and there’s no way around that.