Why Haven’t the Seattle Mariners Signed Melky Cabrera?

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There are many fans and analysts who think that as of today the Seattle Mariners could compete for the AL West title in 2015. Just think how much better their chances could be if they signed free-agent, switch-hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera.

The 30-year old from the Dominican Republic has been linked to the Mariners fur much of the offseason, with many considering the M’s the favorites to land his services. But since those rumors trickled onto twitter– about two weeks ago– the Mariners haven’t signed Melky Cabrera.

So what’s the holdup?

It makes perfect sense to put Melky Cabrera in right field for the Mariners. He can field all outfield positions, making him a versatile asset across the board.

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He is a good hitter. In 139 games last season with the Toronto Blue Jays, Melky hit 301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs, 35 doubles, 3 triples and 73 RBI. What’s more, Cabrera walked 43 times while striking out on only 67 occasions. In fact, in his 10 year MLB career, he has only exceeded 70 strikeouts once, when he struck out 94 times in Kansas City in 2013.

Last season Melky Cabrera was worth 3.1 WAR according to ESPN, and over the last four seasons he has totaled 11.8 WAR.

Cabrera is also best friends with Mariners superstar Robinson Cano, as they spent 5 seasons together with the New York Yankees.

The Mariners need another bat, preferably a right-handed one. But some would argue a switch-hitting outfielder might be even better for the M’s. With Melky Cabrera batting number 2 in the lineup, the top six in the order could look pretty tough, batting Dustin Ackley, Melky, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, and Mike Zunino.

Oct 10, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) hits an RBI double in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals in game one of the 2014 ALCS playoff at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Each of those players hit double-digit home runs last season, with the real pop coming from the 4-5-6 as Seager hit 25, Cruz hit a league leading 40, and Mike Zunino 22 home runs. That sort of deep pop and consistency would give the Mariners a lineup to adequately compliment their stud rotation and bullpen.

So why isn’t Melky Cabrera in Mariner blue yet?

The Mariners have extended him a contract offer, but reports say the deal is only for 3 seasons. According to sources, Melky wants a five-year contract and is holding out.

This would be a tough spot for the Mariners if Cabrera’s market weren’t so dormant. It seems when the Mariners were declared the overwhelming favorites to sign Melky, the rest of the suitors dropped off the map.

The Baltimore Orioles, who are reportedly interested in Melky Cabrera as well, are only willing to go 2-3 years on a deal. In that case, the Mariners don’t appear to have any major competition in the market. I could be wrong, and their could be a team quietly biding their time to sign Cabrera, but as of right now everyone and their mother expects Melky Cabrera to sign with the Mariners.

Will the deal get done?

It seems like the M’s are willing to wait on Cabrera and his decision. The M’s are comfortable going into Spring Training with the team they have, as they are confident they can compete in 2015 without another bat via free agency or trade.

But if the Mariners want to legitimize themselves as World Series competitors, they need to reel in the last big hitting fish on the free agent market. They would be sacrificing no talent to land a guy who instantly makes them better offensively and defensively.

It wont’ be surprising in the coming weeks if the M’s and Cabrera’s agent can find a happy medium with a 4th year with less annual value. And if the Mariners can bring Cano’s pal Melky into the Mariner fold, watch out folks. This team could be fun to watch offensively, defensively, and of course pitching-wise in 2015.