When Melky Cabrera takes the field in Kansas City next Tuesday, I will be interested to see how the fans there react.
Will they cheer the former Royal? Will they all start crying, thinking about what could have been? Will they turn to the luxury box occupied by general manager Dayton Moore and boo him?
Thanks to a late surge in fan voting, the newest cult hero in San Francisco will start the All-Star Game in the place he called home last season. Cabrera shocked everyone, including the media, by finishing with the most votes among NL outfielders.
Melky actually WON the outfield vote. 7.5 million.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 1, 2012
After a breakout season in which he set career highs in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, runs and doubles, Cabrera was traded to the Giants for enigma Jonathan Sanchez.
If Moore knew then what he knows now about their production, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that he makes this trade again.
Cabrera leads the majors in hits entering Monday. Sanchez is 1-4 with a 6.80 ERA and spent a month on the DL with biceps tendinitis. Two players heading in completely opposite directions.
After Cabrera put up insane numbers during May, there would have been a federal investigation if he didn’t make the All-Star team. But after hitting .429 and tying the Giants single-month hit record, I was convinced he needed to start the All-Star game. Getting there wasn’t good enough. As imperfect as the system is, the fans got this one right.
On Monday evening, the Melk Man posted a message on Twitter:
Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t need to say too much about Cabrera:
“Melky, what a year he’s having. That was an easy one.”
Those fans were able to push Cabrera ahead of Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, last season’s MVP. But don’t feel bad for Braun, as he will probably slip into the starting lineup anyway. Matt Kemp was voted in a starter, but he won’t play due to his hamstring injury.
If Braun is in fact chosen to replace Kemp, it’s possible Giants fans could see Melky start in center field, rather than left field. Braun is a left fielder and has no experience in center. The other outfielder voted to start, Carlos Beltran — another former Royals outfielder — hasn’t played center regularly in a few years.