Melky Cabrera, you are missed. (Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE)

I Miss Melky Cabrera

I like to do what we all do as fans – prognosticate. This player will do this, but he’ll never achieve that. There’s no way this player can keep up this production. I’m purely confident that player will be a legend.

Well, I was wrong again. Melky Cabrera has made me into a fool.

For those of you that called it, congratulations. I know there were many of you and I applaud your sense, for it was a sense that I didn’t have. Jonathan Sanchez has not rebounded. That’s really a light way to put it. Sanchez has flopped. He’s done what many suspected he would. He’s walked more than he’s struck out, to the tune of the highest walk rate in his career and the lowest strikeout rate. That seems too mild, too. Sanchez has walked 22 in 25.1 innings and struck out 18, all while allowing 25 hits and 19 runs.

And then he got injured.

Now Sanchez is in Omaha (potentially back in the Kansas City rotation this week) and isn’t just flying along. His first start (5.2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) was pretty nice and created some hope. Then he threw a stinker last week (2.2 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR) followed by a medially-successful game (5.0 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR). Anyway, for a guy that is on the verge of returning to the big leagues, it’s hard to say that he’s really nailed down his rehab.

So, that’s where we sit with Sanchez: waiting to get something great out of him. It may yet come, to be sure, but the outlook does not look promising.

Meanwhile, Melky Cabrera is hitting .364/.403/.531 (leading the NL in batting average) and is playing corner outfield spots, where he profiles better than center field. He plays for a team that has a winning record and is sitting at second in their division, behind the team with the best record in the MLB, the Dodgers. And we traded him for Sanchez plus a (current) AAA pitcher.

I can’t say I’m too thrilled, but I can say that I had hoped for better. I had predicted that Melky would fall back a bit to his normal levels, but that just hasn’t happened yet (he has a BABIP of .405 this season). I thought we would at least be even in the trade, with Sanchez providing a little more value than he has, but he just hasn’t gotten it done. And I figured I wouldn’t have to come out and say that I was wrong.

But I was.

So, I miss Melky Cabrera, especially as the best-batting Royal that’s not Billy Butler is Alcides Escobar (if you don’t count Irving Falu, of course). I especially feel it when our center fielder went out after five games and both Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur decided to be late to the party. And I really feel it when Sanchez goes to the mound and walks as many batters as or more than he strikes out, which happened in all but one of his six starts.

But I think what I miss most is the fun of a competitive outfield and having a guy that was surprising you with his ability and production. Escobar notwithstanding, the only others I can begin to say that about are Falu, Jonathan Broxton, and Jose Mijares, the latter two of which I suspected to produce well, but wasn’t extremely optimistic about.

All of that being said, injuries are a pain in the neck. Sometimes literally. And that’s probably the biggest difficulty of all. When you know the ability is there and the potential is there, but injuries and unseen factors destroy that fortune, the past’s difficult decisions become more apparent. And I think trading Melky was a difficult decision for them to make. It wasn’t for me at the time, but here we are. I guess what I’m saying is that the bad times make you think of all the “what if” situations you can find and exploit them to release frustration.

This is one of those.

I miss you, Melky, and the good times I remember with you in town. Let’s just ignore the bad times and think of the good ones, right?

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Jonathan Sanchez Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals Melky Cabrera MLB Royals

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