Melky Cabrera not the answer in San Francisco

Trading Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Carbrera wasn't the big deal Giants fans were hoping for. (AP photos)

The San Francisco Giants need to add offense during the offseason, and  big names were being thrown around like Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes. Fans were excited and couldn’t wait to hear who it was going to be — waiting on the newswire for an announcement to break any minute.

Then, just when fans thought nothing was going to be done, they got word the Giants had made a trade. Everyone rushed to their laptops to see who it could be. And just when they got there, they saw their no-hitter hero being given up for Melky Cabrera.

That’s right, the Giants big offseason acquisition is a switch-hitting outfielder who has now been with four teams in seven seasons — with an unimpressive .275 lifetime batting average.

They were trying to add hitting, so they went out and found someone who has hit over .300 once in his career. Last year, in a career year, Cabrera hit .305 with 87 RBIs and 18 HR.

Most look at this as a good acquisition, but if he isn’t going to bat leadoff, which isn’t expected, what is he really going to bring? He doesn’t have power and isn’t extremely fast, so the Giants are hoping he can do the same thing as last year and it will be enough.

This would be great, except isn’t this the formula they got burned with last season? They banked on Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres and Cody Ross having career years again and it blew up in their face.

Huff’s batting average dropped 44 points. Torres had 159 less at-bats, resulting in only 77 hits for the season. And Ross couldn’t repeat his NLCS MVP season when he played in 33 less games and batted only .240.

So what are they going to get out of Cabrera? Is he going to be this year’s Adrian Beltre or Adam Dunn?

If he is just entering his prime, and that career year is a sign of things to come, then this could be the biggest steal of free agency. If it doesn’t work out that way, though, the Giants could be in a lot of trouble.

With Ross, Carlos Beltran and Pat Burrell free agents, the Giants will have Cabrera along with Justin Christian, Francisco Peguero, Darren Ford, Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres to choose from in the outfield. Doesn’t exactly remind me of the ’54 outfield of Mays, Mueller, and Irvin.

If the Giants don’t re-sign their free agents, they are going to be hurting in the outfield, with four young guys and a very old Torres to go along with Cabrera. If they don’t resign Beltran, they will be throwing all their eggs into the Cabrera basket and praying he repeats his stellar 2011 season.

Now, the offseason isn’t over, so anything is possible, but the Giants don’t seem to be looking to spend money, so don’t expect anything big. Melky Cabrera is not big and he is not the answer.

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