Everybody came to love the "Melk Man" Melky Cabrera. His tenacious defense and strong throwing arm made him a regular outfielder for the Yankees. With Johnny Damon's weak arm and Hideki Matsui's incapability on playing the outfield due to his knees, the Yankees turned to Melky as their regular center fielder.
It's a good thing that Melky fitted well with the Yankees. His defense was there but his offense is just enough to place him at the bottom of the order. He usually plays in the 8th or 9th hole and he provided spark to the ball club. Melky doesn't need to hit home runs and have a high batting average and RBI production since the Yankees are loaded with sluggers that can produce some runs. That is why Melky is a perfect fit with the Yankees.
In 2009, Melky even added another weapon to his resume and that is being "clutch". Melky had 3 walk-off hits in 2009. On April 22, 2009, Cabrera hit the first walk-off hit in the New Yankee Stadium, a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 14th inning, to help the Yankees win 9–7.
On May 15, He hit a walk off single to win the game 5-4. And on May 23, Melky had another walk-off hit, this time a single driving Robinson Cano after Alex Rodriguez hit a two run home run to tie it.
Because of his amazing stellar play Melky won the Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Month of May.
Melky continued playing Mr. Clutch all the way to the post-season. In the ALCS against the LA Angels, he hit an average of .391 as he was one the Yankee who was responsible in putting away the Angels for good.
What will I miss about Melky is his "fun antics" out in the baseball field where he usually jumps for joy with a "jumping high five" whenever the Yankees make a stellar play or if they win the game. He and Robinson Cano started that "thing" which rub out to all the players in the roster. Melky brings a fun and relax chemistry to the Yankees. He will be missed.
But baseball is a business and the Yankees know for sure that they need to improve every year to remain competitive and hopefully win another World Series title. With the Curtis Granderson acquisition from a trade, the Yankees have an outfield logjam that has Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Jamie Hoffmann. The Yankees are thinking that they have flexibility to trade one outfielder (Gardner or Melky) for a starting pitcher.
So they did exactly that by trading Melky plus others to the Braves for Javier Vazquez and a reliever. It's a good trade for the Yanks as they strengthened their rotation to 4 reliable starters.
So why did the Yankees choose Gardner over Melky? For one Gardner is cheaper than Melky. Gardner has a better hitting average, also plays good defense in the outfield, and is also still young. But the one thing that made Gardner more valuable to the Yankees was Gardner's extreme speed. Gardner is so fast that he can wreak havoc in running the base paths. He is capable of stealing 30-40 steals in a season if he plays regularly.
It's a tough choice but the Yankees need to release one outfielder to get a stud like Vazquez.
It's been a good run for Melky. In some way he has help the Yankees in winning their 27th World Series title. Thanks for the memories Melky and good luck on your future career.
Posted On Saturday, December 26, 2009 at at 5:33 AM by Francis Isberto