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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Pirates Sign Melky Cabrera as a Minor League Free Agent

Ken Rosenthal from the Athletic is reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed outfielder Melky Cabrera as a minor league free agent with an invite to Major League Spring Training, which begins in three days.

Jon Heyman notes that he could make up to $2 M with his incentives.

The 34-year-old Cabrera spent 2018 with the Cleveland Indians, where he split some outfield time with Lonnie Chisenhall. That is likely to continue with those two this year with the Pirates.

In 78 games last year, Cabrera hit .280/.335/.420. He had a slightly lower OPS (.746) seeing full-time action in 2017, splitting the season between the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals. According to Baseball-Reference, he was a -0.3 WAR in 2017 and 0.0 WAR in 2018. That was mostly due to poor defense, while splitting his time between left field and right field. As a hitter, he put up a 2.3 WAR combined over the last two seasons. That would seem like his best usage would be as a pinch-hitter, but he has performed very poorly in his career in that role, going 6-for-41 with six singles.

UPDATE: Pirates make the deal official

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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