Re: Melky Cabrera
This article explains how the available centerfielders is shrinking. And contrary to what the Reds might be saying, I think they might be serious about acquiring Rockies' Willy Taveras.
Market for center fielders shrinking
With Cameron off table, free-agent pool drying up quickly
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
A year ago, an exercised contract option for someone such as Mike Cameron would have amounted to back-shelf news.
Center fielders clogged the 2007 free-agent market, which eventually saw headliners like Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones change teams. And, for that matter, Cameron, who left San Diego for Milwaukee.
However, the current market shapes up differently, and the Brewers' decision to trigger the $10 million 2009 option on Cameron's contract diverted from the open market the foremost pure center fielder potentially eligible for free agency.
So clubs that have prioritized the position -- most prominently the Yankees and the White Sox -- will have to regroup. The only free-agent outfielders who principally played in center in 2008 are Jim Edmonds, who at 38 isn't sold on continuing his career, and Mark Kotsay, who was more of a role player in Boston following his midseason acquisition from Atlanta.
This market status had to play a role in a decision the Brewers delayed nearly as long as they could. Cameron (who will turn 36 before the start of the season), whose offensive numbers have slipped in recent years, remains a defensive force that new Milwaukee manager Ken Macha obviously wanted to keep.
The Yankees reportedly have cooled on Melky Cabrera, and Johnny Damon is no longer an everyday option in center. Now that Cameron is off the table as a free agent, the Yankees may have to swing a trade to fill their need. One option might be Gary Matthews Jr., a high-priced No. 4 outfielder in Anaheim, or Cameron himself, should the Brewers be open to listening.
A year after signing his own five-year, $50 million deal with the Angels as a free agent, Matthews was trumped by Hunter's arrival. But he starred in highlight reels as Texas' center fielder in 2006, and at 34 remains an athletic centerpiece, and it's possible the cost in trade would not be high if the Yankees were willing to take on some of the $33 million remaining on his contract.
The rest of the free-agent market -- both of players who have already filed, and of those still eligible to do so -- is devoid of frontline options. A handful of the outfielders have experience in center -- such as onetime icon Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Payton -- but lacked significant playing time there in 2008.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
If you think small, you'll go nowhere in life.