At what point – tonight? – do the Yankees admit that Melky Cabrera doesn’t belong in the lineup?
He is at .223/.284/.290 since May 1 with two homers, 20 RBI and 12 runs scored over 213 plate appearances. 12 runs scored in 53 games? That is tough to do.
June (.206/.289/.255) was even worse and for the season he’s hitting .222 with runners in scoring position.
Yet Cabrera has played in 81 games and is a lineup constant, even against left-handers despite his atrocious performance (.198/.289/.255) as a right-handed hitter.
For all the tinkering Joe Girardi does with his lineup, Cabrera is accorded the same respect as A-Rod and Jeter. Three actual good players sat against Oliver Perez the other day. Cabrera played and was 0 for 3.
Cabrera is 0 for his last 15 and has one RBI since June 16.
Yes, he has a fine arm. He also has three assists all season. Playing him on the off chance that he might throw somebody out doesn’t begin to balance out his offensive ineptness.
Joe Torre had the same loyalty to Cabrera that Girardi does. Cabrera, Torre used to invariably say, gives the Yankees energy. In terms of “energy” stats, Cabrera had eight triples last season, none this season. He’s also on pace for fewer doubles, fewer stolen bases and fewer sacrifices.
Now that Brett Gardner is here, there is no compelling reason to continue playing Cabrera every day. Keeping Johnny Damon out of center field is understandable. But the Yankees would be best served with Damon in left and Gardner in center for an extended period of time.
None of us know what Gardner will do. But how much worse can he be at this point?
The second part of this is whether Cabrera has any trade value beyond being a throw-in. He did have market value at some point, but that has faded. This slump goes beyond two months. Cabrera has hit .263 since the start of the 2007 season. That’s not a slump, that’s what he is.