09/28/12 1:04 AM ET
Giants do the right thing, keep Melky from postseason
By Mike Bauman / MLB.com
So the Giants are to be commended, complimented and generally congratulated on their decision not to open their postseason roster to outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 15 after testing positive for elevated levels of synthetic testosterone. With 45 games remaining in the regular season, he would have been eligible, in theory at least, to return after five postseason games.
But manager Bruce Bochy said on Thursday that Cabrera will not be rejoining the club, even if the Giants advanced far enough in the postseason to make him eligible.
This is a sound decision from a moral standpoint. Cabrera cheated and was caught. There has already been considerable consternation caused by the fact that Cabrera could have won the National League batting title with a frozen .346 average. When Cabrera agreed to make himself ineligible, that concern was lifted.
But none of this erases Cabrera's wrong. Accepting him back with open arms would have sent the wrong message to everyone involved -- first and foremost, to Cabrera himself.
But the strictly baseball part of this decision is at least as good. There were those who thought that the Giants would take a major hit with Cabrera's suspension, but the Giants have demonstrated, again, that they have more than enough ability and determination to rise above another bout of adversity.
The Giants' record without Cabrera speaks for itself, as they are a remarkable 27-12 since the suspension. They made themselves the runaway winners of the National League West. With their outstanding pitching, their offense needs to be no more than capable, and they could be, as they were in 2010, an extremely difficult postseason matchup for anybody.
And it is this post-Melky performance that makes the decision particularly sensible.
"It's a decision we had to make early, because Melky would have to start rehabbing, and we have decided to develop our roster," Bochy said on Thursday. "Our group of players have done a terrific job."
Cabrera issued a statement saying that he is disappointed by the decision but that he will be rooting for the Giants to win another World Series championship.
"He understands, especially with the way this club has played down the stretch," Bochy said. "We've moved on, and we're going to move forward."
Bochy also noted that the Giants have enough depth in the outfield to deal with any injuries.
"We have a pretty big roster, and our guys have done a good job of stepping up when we needed them to," he said. "I think it's for the best of this club if you've looked at how they've played and all we've been through. These guys have really done a great job. There's a reason we're in this situation."
There is always talk about players "stepping up" when a prominent starter is hurt -- or, all right, suspended. And the Giants asked for and received contributions in left field from Xavier Nady, Gregor Blanco and Brandon Belt, to name three.
You don't need to be a Giants fan to see the positive in this story. A guy having a career year -- and, not incidentally, the MVP of an All-Star Game -- turns out to have been using a performance-enhancing substance. But instead of folding without him, the team responds with six weeks of truly superior baseball.
It is still too early for a happy ending with the 2012 Giants, but they have written a really compelling penultimate chapter to their story. The decision to keep Cabrera out of the postseason fits both their pattern and their purpose, and it works on each and every level within the reach of reason.
Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.