clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:


I think most of the regulars on this site are in agreement that we're a-ok going into the season with Bill Hall as our starting centerfielder. That's even more true if we can't trade away either Kevin Mench or Geoff Jenkins--all of these guys are going to be on the major league club, and you gotta figure we don't have room for a new center fielder if we have three LF guys.

Nonetheless, that doesn't stop people from trying to solve our "problem." Robert Galanis at The Wisconsin Sports Bar makes his suggestion:

Answer: 22 year old Melky Cabrera - LF NYY

The Yankees have already tossed him up as trade bait to improve pitching, so why not offer up Turnblow or Jose Capellan. The Yankees won't be able to pass up on a 100 mph fastballer. And besides a fortune cookie once told me "Speed is poor substitute fo accuracy." We could even throw in Shrek as an added bonus (sorry I like Favre...I mean Jenkins).

Cabrera is young and steaming with potential. He will fit right in, in the Brewers clubhouse plus he gives the Brewers a little of the latin influence every winning baseball team needs.

In a way, it's a decent idea: Melky is expendable in the Yankees outfield of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Bobby Abreu, and Brian Cashman has indeed made him available in trade talks for the likes of Mike Gonzalez.

A few problems, though:

  • Brian Cashman is not stupid.
  • Jose Capellan is no Mike Gonzalez.
  • Derrick Turnbow is barely Geremi Gonzalez right now.
  • Melky's the prototypical "CF in the minors, LF in the majors." He could handle center field, but it would not be a defensive upgrade over Hall or Brady Clark.
  • Melky's not much of an upgrade over Clark on offense, either. ZiPS projects him for next year at .295/.355/.445. Quite respectable, but compare to Brady's career line: .278/.356/.389. Basically, the difference is 5 home runs a year. That's not huge, especially if the goal is to get a leadoff hitter.
Now, just to be clear, I like Melky Cabrera. I think he's a good player. But before I gave up some serious value for him (and I'm convinced he won't be traded for less), I'd need to be assured that he could play average or better defense in CF. If not, he's a below-average offense corner guy. Still a nice player to have on your team as a cheap 4th OF for the next few years, but not an upgrade for the 2007 Brewers.

It's simple. If Hall hits the way he did last year and plays credible defense in CF, he's one of the best players in the league. No kidding. Here's a list of all of the center fielders who out-OPSd Billy last year:

That's it. And Wells beat him by a mere 1 point. Wells is older, just signed a $100M contract extension, and we're worried about upgrading on his equal.