The Melk-man delivered a pretty good career.
After two years out of the majors, former Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera officially retired Friday, per Hector Gomez, a sports journalist in the Dominican Republic. Cabrera played in his native Dominican Republic following a short stint with the Mets in 2020.
Cabrera finished his MLB career with a .285/.334/.417 slash line, 1,962 hits, 144 home runs and an All-Star appearance in 2012. He played the first five seasons of his career with the Yankees, getting elevated to the starting lineup when Hideki Matsui was injured in 2006 and playing well enough to stick.
He became a pivotal part of the Yankees’ 2009 championship run, playing 154 games and hitting for the cycle on Aug. 2 of that year. The next offseason, after the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson, they dealt Cabrera to the Braves in an ill-fated deal for right-hander Javier Vazquez.
Though it didn’t work out for Cabrera in Atlanta, where he struggled to manage his weight, he put together a solid 2011 season with the Royals before an All-Star season with the Giants in 2012. Midway through that year, Cabrera was suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs and didn’t play during the Giants’ World Series run, though he did receive a championship ring.
The next season, Cabrera was among the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal, but he avoided a second suspension.
Cabrera bounced around teams for much of his career following that, sticking for a couple years with the White Sox and finding consistent work as an outfielder who could play either corner and contribute with speed. Once he got older and his speed diminished, so did his value.
In 2006, Cabrera became the second-youngest Yankee, after Mickey Mantle (1953), to hit a walk-off home run. Cabrera also earned plaudits for his defense, twice putting up double-digit outfield assists.