ESPN’s Stark: Melky Cabrera cost himself $75 million

Maybe baseball should start keeping a new statistic: Earnings lost as a result of players
being caught cheating with performance-enhancing drugs.

San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera may have cost himself $75 million in free agency riches due to his positive drug test, says Jayson Stark, ESPN’s MLB insider.

Cabrera was having the best season of his career in 2012 (.346 AVG; 11 HR’s; 60 RBI’s), when he got suspended. If he hadn’t been caught, Cabrera had positioned himself to be the No. 2 most sought-after free agent outfielder after the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton this off-season, Stark told Mike Golic on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning Tuesday.

Cabrera was in line for a $60-$80 million, 5-year contract as a free agent. Now? After testing positive (not to mention his wacky scheme to try to fool MLB investigators by creating a fictitious product and web site), who knows what he’ll get. Cabrera was making $6 million this season.

“Melky was going to be positioned perfectly to ring the cash register,” Stark told me by phone Tuesday night. “I surveyed several executives from different teams just to see what they thought he was in line to make. Everybody said in the range of 5-years, $60 million, $70 million, maybe $80 million, depending on how the bidding went. So, if you take that as the baseline, and then figure out where’s he’s at now, you can see that money flying out of the cash register.”

How much?

“It’s a big number. It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million,” answers Stark. “He’ll probably do better than $1.25 million (annually). But doesn’t he have to take a 1-year deal now — just to prove he’s the player he claims he is?

Unfortunately for Cabrera, the outfielder lost “millions and millions of dollars because he tested positive. That’s the bottom line. He was going to be a very rich man. Now? Not so much.”

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