Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Major League Baseball on Friday ruled that
suspended San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera will not be eligible
to win the National League batting title.
Cabrera, who was hitting .346 at the time of his 50-game suspension for
performance enhancing drugs back on Aug. 15, was actually the one who asked to
be removed from consideration on Wednesday, when his representatives sent a
letter to union officials.
"I have no wish to win an award that would be tainted," Cabrera said in a
statement. "I believe it would be far better for someone more deserving to
win. I asked the Players Association and the league to take the necessary
steps to remove my name from consideration for the National League batting
"I am grateful that the Players Association and MLB were able to honor my
request by suspending the rule for this season. I know that changing the
rules mid-season can present problems, and I thank the Players Association and
MLB for finding a way to get this done."
The Players' Association then worked out a "one-time" amendment to Rule
10.22(a) with MLB officials on Thursday.
"Melky Cabrera, through a written request to me, asked the for the Union's
assistance in removing him from consideration for the 2012 National League
batting title," said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. "We complied
with Melkys wish and brought the matter to the Commissioner's Office, which
agreed to suspend the rule. We commend Melky's decision under these
Commissioner Bud Selig stated earlier this week that was not likely to close a
loophole that would have allowed Cabrera to add one hitless at-bat to reach
the minimum 502 plate appearances necessary to qualify for the title at .346.
"After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that
Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera's request," Selig said in a
statement. "I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to
move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is
appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabreras peers who are contending for the
So now Cabrera will finish one at-bat short of qualifying for the batting
title. The rule had permitted a player to be recognized as the official winner
if extra hitless at-bats are added to his average and it remains higher than
any qualifying player.
Basically Cabrera would have won the batting title on a technicality. With the
amendment MLB does not let him benefit because of the suspension. Seems simple
In the end everyone should be happy. The public is not outraged, Cabrera gets
to clean his image a bit since he will be a free agent at season's end and MLB
saves itself a whole lot of embarrassment in having a suspended player win a
But does this now open a can of worms for MLB in the future? Will they take
his All-Star Game MVP Award away too? Or better yet, will they now go and take
statistical titles away from other steroid cheaters?
MLB got lucky here. This was an easy fix, but why wasn't the possibility of
something like this brought up before? The Mitchell Report came out what seems
like forever ago. The whole Ryan Braun fiasco happened just last winter.
It seems pretty obvious. A cheater shouldn't be able to win something like
this. This should have been clear years ago.
This little act should go a long way in Cabrera winning back some public
sentiment. After he was caught remember Cabrera tried to get himself out of it
by creating a fake website.
Maybe this helps him now, as he heads to free agency this winter.
In the end who cares? Without looking it up can you tell me who was the NL
batting champion last year? It was Jose Reyes by the way.
And as far as this year's NL batting title is concerned, well it's a
legitimate race now between Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Cabrera teammate
Buster Posey. McCutchen heads into action this weekend hitting .339, while
Posey is batting .335
By the way this whole little charade could have been avoided had McCutchen not
gone in the tank. McCutchen was leading the NL at a .359 clip at the time of
the Cabrera suspension. But, then again his Pittsburgh Pirates were also 12
games over .500 at the start of play that August day and now seem destined for
a 20th straight losing season.
That will be a story for another day.
The Sports Network