Because Melky Cabrera's been a huge asset for the Giants 35 games into the season and because he's gone HAM ever since Pablo Sandoval went down with an injury, there's been lots of chatter about a possible extension for the Melkman.
It's not an unreasonable idea to discuss and Brian Sabean, speaking to Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle, said that any discussion of a contract with Melky wouldn't be limited to the off-season.
"Not necessarily," Sabean said when asked about waiting until after the season. "I think it's different with a transitional player, depending on who the agent is or the appetite of the player. So I wouldn't say that's an absolute."
So ... this is GREAT news. After all, if you can hand a 27-year-old outfielder who's having a breakout year a pile of cash just 35 games into the season, why wouldn't you do that?
Actually there are lots of reasons not to do it, chief among them the fact that just a few months ago, Melky was worth the equivalent of Jonathan Sanchez to the team that held his rights. (How that trade worked out is besides the point.)
And Melky's struggled previously in his career -- his time in Atlanta was cringe-worthy, as Melky plumped up, managed just four home runs and an 83 OPS+ and was worth -0.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
"I don't know what happened in Atlanta," Sabean said. "You'd have to ask the people in Atlanta. I think the older you get, you know what's at stake, the money to be made, the chance to be the best player you can be."
Sabean also had a good point why Melky's being driven to continue and perform well, one that provides a glimpse into both the good and bad reasons to hand Melky money, although his notion that "performance over 35 games equals 2011 not being a fluke" might not be 100 percent accurate.
"It proves that last year wasn't a fluke to this point and that he's done a great job of keeping himself in shape," Sabean said. "Perhaps he's driven by being a free agent, too. Who knows?"
The free-agent thing is terrifying. Look no further than the albatross of a deal (5 years, $60 million!) that the Giants handed out to Aaron Rowand coming off one of the two best seasons of his career, which happened to be in a walk year. Rowand was also 30 (Melky is 27) so there's much less danger here, one would think.
Look, there's a LOT to like about Melky. The Giants would be smart to lock him up, provided he's willing to take a discount in order to get paid before he hits the market. Maybe he won't -- maybe he wants to hit the market. We don't know.
Really, there's only one thing we do know: the Giants front office actually got it right when they dealt for Melky prior to 2012 and they need to be 100 percent correct on his future if they're going to give him a big-time deal before the season's even halfway over.