It all blows up


It all blows up

And so it all blows up . . . the dream season, the big contract, maybe the Giants' season. All because Melky Cabrera needed to be sure in his walk year that he could be all he could be.And it isn't like he didn't know, or couldn't have figured it out. Even his statement makes that clear. He knew it, and did it anyway. He rolled the dice and delivered three months of passes and one of snake-eyes.RELATED: Melky Cabrera suspended 50 games for positive PED test
Oddly, this was the Twitter rumor that CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly chased a few weeks ago, and back then was told no such positive test existed. That it turned out to be exactly that weeks later suggested that drug tests still aren't confidential, or that there are always leaks if one knows where the drip is coming from.But that's journalism stuff, and for Giants fans, this isn't anything but pure-on panic. The man who gave their lineup credibility and a linch-pin when other components weren't working is now gone for the rest of the regular season, and unless the Giants find someone to be the new three-hitter who doesn't punch a hole in spots four, five or six, they have a problem that may mean the regular season is the only season there is.This puts renewed pressure on Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence and yes, Brandon Belt, to deliver what Cabrera takes home with him. They will deliver the increased workload, or they will not.As for Cabrera, the big contract is gone, like that. The eight-figure, multi-year deal has evaporated, and so has his leverage. Even the Giants are unlikely to chase him in the off-season, even though they needed him more than any other team. And while this may take one thing off Brian Sabean's off-season to-do list, it means he's back in the market for another outfielder in the off-season, still with the minimal amount of minor league prospects to deal. Some things change, and some things remain maddeningly the same.But those who saw the Giants positioning themselves for another deep postseason run now know the location of the other dropped shoe. It wasn't dropped at all, but kicked, right into their stomachs. The season may not be over, but it has a new brackish taste.Ray Ratto is a columnist for

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte died early Sunday from a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played for several Major League teams, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, and was most recently playing in the Korean league.

Marte was playing in the Dominican winter league with the Aguilas Cibaenas team.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.”