Melky Cabrera is a pending free agent, and he was likely to be a hot commodity for teams looking for offensive help. He's still in his mid-20s, and he was on pace to finish with his second straight 200-hit season. He was going to be extraordinarily wealthy.
But the question that a lot of people are asking is "How much money did Melky lose?" Is there a way to put a number on it? Jayson Stark talked with a number of baseball executives to find out:
We did hear one prediction that there might still be a three-year, $30 million deal out there for him. But that was clearly a minority view. One exec went as far as to say teams now had to ignore everything he's done the last two seasons and say instead: "Whatever type of hitter you thought he was before, you have to look at him as that type of hitter now. You can't trust that what he was the last two years, he'll ever be again."
If you're suspicious enough to throw out the two seasons where he was actually good, he's a career .267/.328/.379 hitter -- Doug Glanville without the writing talent. That's the kind of player who gets a one-year deal and a spring competition, not a long-term deal.
But there is always that GM or that team. And, really, all they have to think is that testosterone doesn't help performance that much. It's not like he's taking Jet in Fallout 3 and getting 30 agility points every time he creams up. So if you think the talent is slightly enhanced, but mostly legit, you can see how the three-year, $30 million dollar deal might tempt a team.
That's still tens of millions lost, though. And that's the best case scenario. Avoiding a positive test for two more months would have made Melky Cabrera IV a lot richer in 2071, but it wasn't to be.