Ex-Yankee Melky Cabrera retires two seasons after final game

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  • Melky Cabrera
    Melky Cabrera

NEW YORK — The Melkman has made his last delivery.

Melky Cabrera, the 37-year-old outfielder who played five seasons for the Yankees in the late-2000s, announced his official retirement on Friday. Cabrera had not played in the big leagues since 2019 with the Pirates, but he did sign a contract with the Mets in 2020 and was part of the team’s player pool during the shortened season, ultimately failing to get any game action.

He posted a simple message to his Instagram on Friday afternoon in his native Spanish, which translated to: “I think it’s time for my retirement from MLB.”

Cabrera was part of the Yankees’ World Series-winning squad in 2009. Serving as the team’s primary center fielder during the playoff run, Cabrera collected four RBI and 13 hits in the postseason. He shined in the American League Championship Series, tagging Angels pitching throughout the six-game victory and putting up a .391 average in the series.

In his five years with the Yankees, Cabrera was a respectable .269 hitter who provided a dash of speed and switch-hitting. His career took off when he left the Yankees after the World Series, though. With the 2011 Royals, Cabrera exploded for a career-high 18 home runs, 87 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He was traded to San Francisco at the end of the year, and while the early returns were spectacular, Cabrera quickly found himself in hot water.

A blistering start to his Giants career earned Cabrera his first trip to the All-Star Game, where he not only started, but also brought home MVP honors. A little over a month later, he was suspended for taking a banned substance. The suspension cost him an opportunity to play in the 2012 World Series and also kept him from making a run at the batting title (Cabrera led the National League in hits at the time of his suspension).

Things took a bizarre turn when the New York Daily News uncovered Cabrera’s attempt to avoid the 50-game suspension. A man described as Cabrera’s associate acquired a website domain for $10,000 and falsified the content to make it look as though Cabrera had unknowingly purchased the banned substance, hoping to exploit a loophole in the MLB drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to claim they did so accidentally.

Cabrera retires with 15 years of big league service time. In addition to his tenures with the Yankees, Royals, Giants and Pirates, he also played for the Braves, Blue Jays, White Sox and Cleveland. The Dominican outfielder ends his career with 1,962 hits, 144 homers and a .285 batting average. He put up the 15th-most hits of any player in the 2010s.

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