Melky delivers, earns All-Star MVP honors
Melky delivers, earns All-Star MVP honors
Returning to the home of the Royals, who sent him to the Giants over the winter in exchange for southpaw Jonathan Sanchez, Cabrera claimed the Most Valuable Player distinction in the 2012 All-Star Game for his role in Tuesday's 8-0 clubbing of the American League at Kauffman Stadium.
"The fans treated me very well here," Cabrera said, having singled during a five-run first inning against Justin Verlander and launched a two-run homer in the fourth against Matt Harrison. "I didn't come to win an MVP. That's just a surprise. It's a great gift the Lord gave me.
"The same opportunity that Kansas City gave me [in 2011] is the same opportunity that San Francisco is giving me every day, to showcase my talent. I'm just very thankful for the fans who voted for me to come here."
Cabrera is the Giants' sixth All-Star Game MVP, tying them with the Orioles for the most in baseball.
With an RBI double in the first, a triple in the fourth and a sensational catch robbing Prince Fielder of extra bases in the fourth, the Brewers' Ryan Braun also was a strong MVP candidate.
GIANTS ALL-STAR MVPS
|Melky Cabrera||2012||Kansas City||8-0|
|Bobby Bonds||1973||Kansas City||7-1|
The Giants are Cabrera's fourth team in four years. He was dealt by the Yankees, his original club, to the Braves after the 2009 season, and Atlanta released him after he hit .255 with little power in 2010.
Signed by the Royals as a free agent, Cabrera enjoyed a breakout 2011 season (.305, 18 homers, 87 RBIs) and was shipped to the Giants.
San Francisco couldn't have anticipated how wonderfully its new outfielder would adapt to the West Coast.
Sanchez, meanwhile, has struggled to find his way -- and control -- in Kansas City. He's 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in 11 starts, issuing 43 walks in 52 innings.
"I've been very happy with all the teams I've played for," Cabrera said through a translator. "They all treated me very well. But it's an executive decision in terms of being traded.
"You have to be mentally ready, physically ready, for those decisions that you have no control over. It was a business decision that the Royals traded me. San Francisco is my new team, and I'm very happy to be here."
Cabrera is hitting a robust .353 at the break with an NL-high 119 hits. He has explored the vast spaces at AT&T Park, his new home, driving 18 doubles and seven triples to go with eight homers. He has scored 55 runs and driven home 44, and he also has stolen 10 bases while handling left field capably.
"He's hit from wire to wire," catcher Buster Posey said. "He's been consistent, played great defense in left, stolen bases. He's been a great addition for us."
Posey joined Matt Cain, Pablo Sandoval and Cabrera in a Giants-rich NL starting lineup. Cain worked two scoreless innings, and Sandoval unloaded a two-out, three-run triple into the right-field corner to stun the great Verlander in the first.
Cabrera had started the uprising with a single to left, scoring on Braun's double. Three innings later, Cabrera put the finishing touches on the romp when he unloaded a bomb to left against Harrison for his first All-Star Game homer.
"I'm happy for him," Sandoval said. "He's been doing a lot of things for the team. He earned [the MVP]. He enjoyed himself and had a great game.
"Melky is a complete player. He can hit, throw, catch the ball. He does everything to help the team. He's been doing a great job for the team. It's great that the fans gave us the opportunity to be here and show what we can do. I think we showed them how much we appreciate their support."
Cabrera wears No. 53 in tribute to Bobby Abreu, who taught him so many things, on and off the field, after he reached New York in 2005, four years after signing as a free agent out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Given all of his travels, it's almost hard to believe Cabrera is 27, just entering his prime. He'll be eligible for free agency this winter if the Giants don't give him an extension. Cabrera is earning $6 million this season.
Cabrera's former teammate with the Yankees, Robinson Cano, applauded his buddy's performance and MVP award.
"That's great, man," Cano said. "I'm happy. His mom was crying. It was nice. If you don't win, you want to see one of your boys do good. I'm so happy for him. He's getting better every year.
"He's going to get paid."
Sandoval knows his position -- third base. He also knows the general manager, Brian Sabean, makes the personnel decisions.
"I'm not the GM," Sandoval said. "But he's someone you'd like to keep on your team."