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For the Melky Haters

Relief is on the way.

But while general manager Brian Cashman has locked second baseman Robinson Cano into a long-term contract and has staked his own reputation on the abilities of young pitchers Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, he's not yet prepared to invest as heavily in the 23-year-old Cabrera.

"Melky has to fight for what he has," Cashman said. "I can't stand here and tell you he's going to be our center fielder moving forward. That's up to him."
"The game will tell you. That's the one great thing about all this - you can have your personal favorites but you can't fool the game," he said. "Right now Melky's got it. Brett's on the verge of being ready and Austin still needs some time to develop.

"In the end, I think we're going to have a great center fielder. It's just a question of who that is."

Brett Gardner shows that he knows the key to success in the big leagues.
"My biggest concern is getting on base. As long as I get on base, 37, 38, 39 percent of the time, I don't care if I hit any home runs. I want to be the table-setter for the Yankees," he said.
Critics (myself included) say that Gardner's minor league numbers are comparable to Melky's (.289/.381/.374 in 1115 ABs vs .294/.344/.422 in 1432 ABs, respectively). But I know (and Bill James agrees) that reaching bases is half again as valuable as hitting for power- though I use that term loosely to describe what these two do.

If Gardner can match his minor league numbers in the bigs (Melky has his percentages nearly dead-on) then Gardner will be the more valuable player in equal time. And since a good batting eye is not nearly as streaky as hitting, Gardner is better suited to a 4th outfielder role. Toss in Gardner's ability to run the bases (116 SB in 138 attempts) and it's clear who would be more valuable and who (via name recognition and the NY media bias) would be easier to move.

I'd suggest that this season will be Melky's high water mark for trade value. Frankly, I thought he'd be traded by now, but I underestimated teams' willingness to overpay for convicted PED users. But with those players now under contract, and the cream of next season's CF free agent crop Rocco Baldelli and Jim Edmunds... well, Mr. Cashman should get a few calls.

Melky will turn 24 in August and be under team control for at least 4 more seasons. He has the arm to play right and the experience to play center.

Have a good year, Melk.