CHICAGO -- In what amounted to a paper move, the Giants reinstated Melky Cabrera to the 40-man roster on Friday, while reiterating that the left fielder won't play for the Giants at any point this postseason.
The Giants were required to reinstate Cabrera or release him once the 27-year-old switch-hitter completed his 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone in violation of the league's drug policy.
Cabrera satisfied terms of the suspension and was removed from MLB's restricted list after missing the final 45 games of the regular season, plus five games in the NL Division Series as the Giants staved off elimination three times and advanced past the Cincinnati Reds.
Cabrera hit .346 and was leading the majors in hits and runs scored when the suspension was announced Aug. 15, but the Giants decided in late September not to bring him back because the team was playing well in his absence and his controversial presence could be a major distraction.
The Giants did add right-hander Guillermo Mota to the playoff roster for the NLDS after he missed 100 games for testing positive for clenbuterol, a banned stimulant. But MLB officials believed Mota was telling the truth when he said he accidentally took the drug when he consumed some of his daughter's prescription cough syrup.
Cabrera's crime went beyond negligence. A handler employed by his agents created a phony product and Web site to try to explain away the positive testosterone result; Cabrera, once his appeals were denied and the penalties announced, admitted fault and issued an apology. He forfeited more than 1.5 million of his 6 million salary, too.
The Giants needed to create a 40-man roster space for Cabrera and they cleared two, outrighting right-hander Shane Loux and outfielder Justin Christian to Triple-A Fresno.
Why not just release Cabrera? Well, from what I've been told, there is more openness within the Giants organization to the idea of re-signing Cabrera after this season. It's hard to know how much the PED use fueled his incredible 4 12-month run, but many in the front office continue to view Cabrera as a talented two-way player coming into his prime. And now he'll be a relative bargain on the free-agent market, too.
Plus Cabrera and his agents scored points when they arranged for MLB and the union to amend a rule that would've allowed Cabrera to qualify for and win the batting title. At Cabrera's request, he will not qualify. It was a meaningful olive branch to the Giants, since it means the crown will go to Buster Posey -- someone near and dear to the club's heart, obviously.
By keeping Cabrera on the roster, the Giants retain their window of exclusivity to negotiate with him before he'd become a free agent after the World Series.