Giants focused on Pagan as Melky Cabrera escapes to Toronto

Giants focused on Pagan as Melky Cabrera escapes to Toronto
November 16, 2012, 7:51 pm
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SAN FRANCISCO The Giants did not view re-signing MelkyCabrera as a priority this offseason. Their focus was and is to bring back free-agent center fielder Angel Pagan.

Cabrera was a fallback option, and a conceptual one at that. The Giants never engaged him this offseason, and they only would've gotten involvedif certain folks in baseball operations could convince ownership to consider thepossibility.
So it was not an apple-cart upsetting moment for the Giantstoday when ESPN Deportes broke the news that Cabrera will sign with the TorontoBlue Jays for a two-year contract worth 16 million. The deal is reportedlypending a physical.

The guaranteed money was more than most in the industryexpected Cabrera to receive after he got popped for using exogenoustestosterone last summer and began serving a 50-game suspension on Aug. 15.Its certainly more than the Giants wouldve been willing to give Cabrera underany circumstances. Even if baseball ops could make a compelling case to CEO LarryBaer and ownership to bring back the disgraced outfielder, it wouldve been ona low-risk, one-year contract.

As enlightening as that internal debate wouldve been, itwont happen now.

Oh, and by the way: the Melk Men can circle June 4-5 ontheir calendars. Thats when the Blue Jays visit AT&T Park for aninterleague series. The Giants also play at Toronto May 14-15.

The Giants remain focused on re-signingPagan, and even though the expectation was that Pagan would let the market play out as Carlos Beltran did a year ago, Im told that there is greater optimism that a deal can be reachedbetween the two parties. Giants manager Bruce Bochy talked to Pagan onThursday, and planned to touch base with second baseman Marco Scutaro in the comingdays.

Pagan is looking for at least a three-year contract afterscoring 95 runs and leading the majors with 15 triples. There are other free-agentoutfield options such as Shane Victorino, Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. ButBourn is expected to command the biggest salary of the bunch, and the Giantsneed a leadoff presence something Pagan provided forcefully after moving backto the No.1 spot in the lineup on Aug. 3.

RELATED: Angel Pagan stats 2012 game logs

Cabrera was plenty forceful in his 4 months as a Giant. Hewas the All-Star Game MVP and was leading the majors in hits and runs when hewas suspended.

As youll recall, Cabrera was eligible for the NLCS andWorld Series after serving the term of his suspension. But the Giants gave himthe 10-foot-pole treatment and declined to even let him work out at the clubsminor league complex to be a candidate to play in the postseason. That was duein large part to the way he tucked tail and left the clubhouse withoutexplanation following the announcement of his suspension; rumors of thepositive test began to circulate before that, and Cabrera lied to teammates,coaches and club officials when asked if they were true. A handler employed byhis agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, also got caught in a harebrained scheme thatincluded a phony product and a phony Web site in a thinly veiled ruse toconvince league officials that Cabrera had inadvertently taken a bannedsubstance.
Cabrera did not issue a confession and apology until afterthe suspension was announced and he had no other recourse but to try to repairhis image. He and his agents extended another olive branch by convincing unionand league officials to amend a rule that would allow him one extra hitlessat-bat to qualify him for the batting title; by changing the rule, it allowedGiants catcher and NL MVP Buster Posey to win the first batting crown by an NLcatcher in 70 years.

It was thought that Cabreras gesture, combined with the Asdecision to re-sign suspended pitcher Bartolo Colon, would create a climate in which the Giants could be more open-minded to re-signing Cabrera. But Im told no negotiations took placebetween the team and Cabrera. And that wasn't just a reflection on the Giants' priorities.

When a kid gets caught stealing acandy bar from a store, he doesnt want to walk into that store again.

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