The San Francisco Giants have no plans to bring back suspended outfielder Melky Cabrera for the postseason if the club is still playing when he is eligible to return.
Manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that he and general manager Brian Sabean are meeting to finalize their 25-man roster for the best-of-five division series. Cabrera would be allowed to play in the NLCS if the Giants advance that far, but – at this stage, at least – they have no intention of adding him to the roster at any point in the postseason.
An announcement regarding Cabrera is expected before the NL West champions leave town after a three-game series against Arizona that began Tuesday night.
First, they would need to alert all the parties involved: Cabrera, Major League Baseball and the players union. Cabrera can start working out at instructional league in Arizona 10 days before his suspension ends, so that factor weighs into the mix.
”Right now, we’ll discuss that. We’ll probably have something before the end of this homestand as far as Melky,” Bochy said. ”We’re talking about a lot of things, and that’s one of them. I’ll probably have an answer for you before we leave here to go down to San Diego. I think both on our side and Melky’s side, you’re getting down to the time period where he can start working out and doing some things. I think he needs to know and we need to know.”
San Francisco’s 40-man roster is full, so adding Cabrera would mean making a roster move or they would likely release Cabrera.
Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, is batting .346, which is the highest mark in the National League.
He was suspended for 50 games Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test. On Friday, Cabrera asked to be removed from contention for the batting crown, saying he had no wish to win a tainted title.
The Giants have succeeded without Cabrera’s big bat, clinching their second division crown in three seasons Saturday night against San Diego. And they are pushing ahead with the roster they have.
”Right now, we’re focusing on the future and what’s going to happen, the playoffs. We’re not thinking about that,” center fielder Angel Pagan said. ”They’ll make the decisions. We are the soldiers. If they bring him, we’re teammates. We’ll receive him with open arms. But if not, hey, we’ve got to respect the decision and move on, move forward.”
Reliever Jeremy Affeldt has said he wants to fight with the faces who are currently in the clubhouse – as they’ve done just fine in the month-plus playing without Cabrera.
”Exactly, and I’m sure that’s the way the team thinks, too,” Pagan said. ”I respect any decision that the team makes. We have a job to do. And we have the mentality to go out there and finish the season strong and start the playoffs the right way.”
Catcher Buster Posey said the Giants will accept whatever the front office decides regarding Cabrera, who is set to become a free agent after the season.
”I don’t think it would bother us than just the extra questions,” he said. ”That would be the main thing, the extra questions.”
Posey’s .332 batting average was third in the NL behind Cabrera and Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen (.336) entering games Tuesday night. Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco and is five hits shy of 1,000 in his big league career.
”I’ve been outspoken on the penalties. If he serves his suspension and pays the price, whatever it is, you guys know I spoke out and said I think there needs to be more of a deterrent, but if he serves his penalty, I guess I’m really not against it. That’s their decision,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ”If he’s caught again, I think he should be done.”