Weekend review: Melkman delivers again, but does Melky Cabrera have a future with the San Francisco Giants?



The Giants’ offensive burst over the past couple of weeks slowed down over the weekend, but it still produced a split in Miami thanks to a nice outing by Matt Cain.

Between May 15-25, the Giants had scored four or more runs in 9 of 11 games. Even including this past weekend, the Giants have scored 3 or more runs in their last seven games and in 15 of their past 17 games, dating back to May 12.

So how much of this offensive explosion (if that’s what you want to call it) can be credited to the torrid May of Melky Cabrera.

We saw what an impact Cabrera can have on Sunday, when he went 4 for 4 and scored all three of the Giants’ runs. He had 4 of the Giants’ 7 runs. In fact, only Cabrera, Buster Posey (2 for 4) and Angel Pagan (1 for 2) collected hits. Everyone else pulled an 0-fer.

When he acquired Cabrera in the offseason, Giants GM Brian Sabean said Cabrera was the kind of player the Giants needed. He wasn’t the big power hitter everyone said the Giants needed. But he got hits, had speed and played good defense.

Now when asked what the chances of the Giants signing Cabrera to an extension before next season, Sabean said the “stars would have to align.”

Doesn’t sound too encouraging, does it?

Well, let’s help Sabes align some stars.

After this season, Aubrey Huff’s $10 million-a-season contract comes off the book, so does Freddy Sanchez’s $6 million deal. And let’s not forget the Giants are paying Aaron Rowand $12 million to make appearances on American Roadster. That also is off the ledger in 2013. The Giants were set to pay Brian Wilson $10-$11 million in arbitration next season. But with Wilson’s elbow injury, that won’t happen as the Giants are sure to non-tender The Beard in hopes of re-signing for much, much less.

Those contracts alone will save the Giants more than $34 million come next year (after you factor in buyouts). They’re looking at about six players who would be arbitration-eligible after this season.

They have cost-certainty with the recent extensions of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval. Doing the same for BusterPosey may be the next order of business, although the Giants may endure a year of arbitration with their catcher to make sure there are no long-term after-effects from his ankle injury.

Barry Zito’s contract ends in 2013. So does Tim Lincecum’s.

A couple of months ago, the thought of letting Lincecum walk when free agency arrived would be unthinkable to most Giants fans.

Now …..

It’s not that we don’t think Lincecum will eventually figure out his struggles. It’s just that he has been prone to this lapses over the past couple of years — August 2010, June 2011, NOW.

Then the question becomes whether you want to pay someone prone to these extended funks $25 million a season.

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com mentioned that with Gary Brown’s struggles in Double-A this season that the Giants may consider extending Angel Pagan a higher priority.

But the Giants have Gregor Blanco … on the cheap. He may be arbitration eligible in 2013, or he might not.

Blanco is having the breakout year similar to Andres Torres in 2010. And Blanco’s pitch selection and ability to get on base lends itself to avoid the tail-off season the free-swinging Torres had in 2011.

So we believe Cabrera is the priority and Pagan the fallback.

While Adam Jones’ recent contract extension may complicate the Cabrera situation for the Giants. But there are other potential free agent outfielders — Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Josh Hamilton, Torii Hunter, Carlos Quentin, Ichiro Suzuki, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino — that could soften the market.


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