MLB dodged a major bullet yesterday when Melky Cabrera asked to be taken out of consideration for the NL batting title. Cabrera was suspended in August for 50 games due to a failed drug test, and left the game with a .346 average.
Believe it or not despite MLB’s direct ties to steroids there’s never been anything in the rule book that states a suspended player cannot win the batting title. The only prerequisite requirement was that he have a minimum of 502 at bats. At the time of the suspension Cabrera had 501, but due to rule 10.22(a) if an extra hitless at bat were added to his average he would reach that 502 mark. The new rule implemented for this season alone states no player that has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs is eligible for the batting title.
The media is give big kudos to Cabrera for asking to be taken out of consideration. I’m going to hold back on giving applause, after all even if Cabrera had won how could he possibly take joy in it? Cabrera did the right thing for himself by saving face with the league and owning up to his wrong doings instead of drawing the ordeal ala Clemens or Conseco style.
The reality still is that it’s going to take more for Cabrera to get back into the league’s good graces. The deceptive lengths he resorted to in creating a bogus website to deceive the league lingers on. These are wounds he inflicted upon himself that only time and genuine unadulterated talent can heal.