The Chicago White Sox have proven over the past few days that they mean business in terms of improving their team, and they made that point even clearer late Saturday night as they signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a three-year contract.
The deal (first reported by Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago), which will pay Cabrera somewhere between $42-43.5 million over the life of the contract, is yet another example of GM Rick Hahn’s commitment to overhauling his roster. The team has already traded for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and signed relief pitcher David Robertson and Adam LaRoche via free agency, but the addition of Cabrera adds one more piece to the puzzle as the team looks to make a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Cabrera was instrumental for the San Francisco Giants when they won the 2012 World Series, but after a down 2013 season he rebounded nicely in 2014. Playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, Cabrera hit 16 home runs and drove in 73 RBI, and the switch-hitter had an OPS of .808 in 621 plate appearances.
As for where Cabrera will slot into the White Sox lineup, it remains to be seen. The thought when the Sox signed LaRoche was that he would provide some protection for the right-handed hitting slugger Jose Abreu in the lineup, but Cabrera could either bat in the fourth or fifth spot in the order, depending on what Robin Ventura wants to do on a given day.
The Cabrera signing also brings into question the status of Dayan Viciedo with the team. The outfielder has reportedly been shopped throughout the offseason, and he could be on the radar for several teams in need of corner outfield help. The Seattle Mariners are one team that has reportedly been inquiring about Viciedo’s services.
With the Cabrera signing, the Sox are likely going to be done with bigger-ticket signings at this point. Additions could still feasibly be coming both in the bullpen (although the acquisition of Dan Jennings really solidifies their seventh through ninth inning pitchers) and in the starting rotation, depending on whether or not Hahn wants to add another right-handed hurler to the mix.