Now more than ever, Melky Cabrera for MVP

August 30, 2012, 5:29 pm
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Everybody done hating Melky Cabrera yet? Got your prohibitionist rage out of your system?

Good, because as of right now, he is so much the Giants most valuable player that a vote for anyone else can only be regarded as election fraud.

Hey, you slice it any way you want. Complain about the effects of synthetic testosterone, or dishonesty, or even Web-based fraud until youre red in the eyes.

I know this, though. They got to 64-53 with him in left field, tied with the Los Angeles Planet-Eaters. They are 9-4 without him.

That means "cause" just put a steel-capped boot right in the groin of "effect." It also means, at least if you squint hard enough and forget the laws of small sample size, that Cabrera jump-started the Giants while present, and has spurred them forward while absent.

If that isnt MVP stuff, then . . . well, youre just wrong, okay?

It is of course far too early to assign such things, because 33 games is a century when youre only three and one-half games ahead. It is of course an eternity when youre 39 games back, but thats CSN Houstons problem, not yours.

The point is this: When people shrieked about how Cabreras absence would destroy the Giants, they assumed one fact not yet in evidence: Nobody knows the future.

The As lost Bartolo Colon a week ago but are 6-1 since because they traded his testosterone-enriched arm from Brett Andersons, which must be regarded rationally as an upgrade.

And the Dodgers have not shot into the stratosphere since their megatrade with Boston because apparently Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez do not yet equal the loss of Chad Billingsley and Matt Kemp, and have no power against the world-bending powers of the Colorado Rockies.

So yes, nobody knows the future.

But we know what we know up to this moment, and the Giants were doing well enough without Cabrera, and to date the trauma of losing him has only made them better. Or maybe it isnt trauma, but ire. Maybe they do better on the business end of the steel-capped boot.

And you cant prove otherwise. Yet.

This isnt just the benefit of the Giants gooey, crme-filled schedule either, because that part has barely begun. Since getting Melkyd, the Giants beat San Diego, swept the Dodgers, split with Atlanta and then played the Astros, which implies that they beat the Astros because meeting the Astros is the same as beating the Astros.

Thats 9-4, and 9-4 is 9-4 every time, because in baseball, style points are replaced with bulk.

Would we recommend getting your best hitter suspended under shady and humiliating circumstances? Not as such. But baseball has shown time and again that easily understood causes do not automatically produce the predicted result. Losing Melky Cabrera, in short, has caused no immediate harm to a team that we have always assumed doesnt have enough hitting to survive such a blow.

The As, we can see, merely traded up, although losing Colon would have enhanced the other spots in the rotation. And the Dodgers have not yet figured out how to stop treading water even after two deals that logically should make them dramatically better.

The Giants, though, are used to defying logic. Losing Cabrera threw the fan base for a loop, but the team neither mirrored nor shared that feeling of doom. Betrayal? Maybe. Doom? No evidence. Inspiration through subtraction? Maybe.

But the MVP doesnt go to a team, so were going with Cabrera. He helped make their offense credible, and through his disgrace they became at least nominally better for the moment.

And if you believe the schedule is a healthy barometer of the future, theyre not likely to get dramatically worse. You can ascribe that to any reason you like; were going for the moment with the ghost of the left fielder, just as we would have gone with the actual left fielder two weeks earlier.

So it is, at least for the foreseeable future Melky Cabrera, Most Valuable Player. Sounds like the Giants may get some use out of those T-shirts after all especially if he becomes the first player to win the batting championship from his hammock.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

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