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Cleveland Indians: When will we see Melky Cabrera?

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TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20: Melky Cabrera #53 of the Kansas City Royals rounds third base and heads home to score a run on a two-run double by Eric Hosmer #35 in the second inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 20, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20: Melky Cabrera #53 of the Kansas City Royals rounds third base and heads home to score a run on a two-run double by Eric Hosmer #35 in the second inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on September 20, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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The Cleveland Indians signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league contract on April 24.

It’s been almost a month since the Cleveland Indians brought Cabrera into the organization. How much longer until he gets a call up?

Cabrera has been a productive player with a bat in his hands over his career. His outfield defense leaves something to be desired, but getting more offensive production out of the outfield should be a priority for the Tribe.

Where is Cabrera right now?

Currently, Cabrera is on the Triple-A Columbus Clippers roster. He’s been in Columbus trying to get back up to speed since he wasn’t able to go through a regular spring training with the organization. This way, he can get the regular at bats that he needs to feel comfortable against big league pitching.

Cabrera has played in 10 games and has 42 at bats for the Clippers. He’s done fairly well with a .286 batting average but his power hasn’t fully returned yet. He has four doubles, but that’s the extent of the power he’s shown so far.

Does Cabrera have an opt out?

Yes, he does. Cabrera has the opportunity to opt out of his contract on June 1st if he isn’t on the big league roster. That gives the Indians about ten more days to make sure he’s ready.

They probably could call him up now given the injuries to Lonnie Chisenhall, Tyler Naquin, and Bradley Zimmer. But they’ll use the entirety of the time they’re allowed to keep Cabrera in the minor leagues to make sure he is 100% ready to go.

I would expect the Indians to bring Cabrera up sometime before June 1st and not let him opt out of his contract. He’s a productive big league hitter and you don’t find many of those guys for cheap like the Tribe did with Cabrera. He could really help this outfield that has struggled to produce outside of Michael Brantley.

Who would get sent down to make room?

Cabrera signed a minor league deal. That means he’s not on the 40 man roster but someone doesn’t need to get designated for assignment in order to bring Cabrera into the fold. There is currently an opening on the 40 man, so a spot on the 25 man roster is all that needs to be made.

Greg Allen might be an easy choice to get sent back to the minors and he has options remaining. Brandon Guyer could be given the pink slip since he is out of options and he hasn’t been producing much this year with a .150/.244/.325 slash line.

But, the Cleveland Indians could go a different route, and send down someone like Zach McAllister or any other member of this underperforming bullpen, and still send out Greg Allen to make room on the bench and perhaps call up another reliever.

Interestingly enough, Lonnie Chisenhall should be back around the same time that Cabrera’s opt out date is. With both of those players returning, Rajai Davis‘s roster spot may be in danger as well.

Next: A chance to make a statement in primetime

The Indians will have outfield reinforcements on the way to Cleveland soon, and that should provide a nice boost to the offense.

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