I can't say that I'm all that shocked that Melky Cabrera was busted for taking testosterone. Earlier in his MLB career with the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves, Cabrera was seen a player who was lazy and out of shape. Upon joining the Kansas City Royals, Cabrera broke out with a career year after dropping approximately 20 lbs. -- something not normally equated with taking steroids (or in this case, testosterone) but a change in his physique nonetheless. After joining the San Francisco Giants, Cabrera continued his career upswing and would eventually cause uproar here in San Francisco.
Cabrera was an instant fan favorite and inspired a group of allegiance known as the "Melkmen" -- along with a female branch known as the "Melkmaids". And now, with the revelation of his positive steroids test, the effect runs deeper than just disappointing his loyal fans. Cabrera has tarnished his career, probably upset his teammates, and likely disrupted the Giants' chances at a playoff appearance in 2012. The most sickening part of it all is that there is a possibility that his .346 batting average could win him the NL batting title.
To be honest, I don't think that the Giants are a playoff team without Cabrera. He did so much to inject the team with positive offensive moments that his absence will likely have an opposite effect. Sure Buster Posey has been mentioned in MVP talks around the league, but he certainly can't do it alone. So what do the Giants need to do in order to make the playoff in 2012? Let's take a quick look:
The Giants need bullpen help and they need it now. All year long the bullpen has struggled because of injuries and poor performances from those who are expected to perform at a high level. If the Giants can't add an arm to the bullpen off the waiver wire then I'm afraid the team won't even come close to the wild card let alone winning the NL West.
Hunter Pence Has to Step Up
The Giants traded for Hunter Pence at the 2012 deadline and his line with the Giants thus far has been dead. With the Giants, Pence is hitting .177 with one home run, 11 RBIs, and an OBP of .212. At this point Aubrey Huff would be a better option in right field (okay, not really, but Pence has to get it together). Pence must return to the player the Giants thought they were getting when they traded for him or the Giants don't stand a chance offensively.
Buster Posey and Brandon Belt Must Remain Consistent
Since the All-Star break, Buster Posey has been one of the hottest hitters on the planet hitting .434 with nine home runs, 33 RBIs, and an OBP of .516. Brandon Belt on the other hand has had his fair share of struggles but appears to be heating up; raising his batting average in the month of August from .239 to start the month to his current batting average of .267. Belt has quietly dominated in the month of August, hitting .450 with a .500 OBP and a .625 slugging percentage. If these two hitters can remain hot, the Giants might stand a chance, but the other two factors mentioned must be fulfilled for a playoff berth to be in the Giants' future. However, as far as I'm concerned, the Giants' days in first place are numbered.
Food for thought: Is Melky Cabrera done as a San Francisco Giant or should the Giants take this opportunity to lock up Cabrera long-term on the cheap? Will the Giants make the playoffs in 2012 or does the end of Cabrera's season also spell the end of the Giants' playoff hopes?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions -- all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
SFGiants.com. Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games for testosterone use. MLB 2012.
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