The Blue Jays and soon-to-be free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera have engaged in preliminary contract talks in advance of Cabrera hitting the open market, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. It does not appear that the sides are close to a deal at this time, but they will likely continue talks until five days after the World Series, when Toronto's exclusive negotiating period expires.
According to Heyman, the Jays are thought to be willing to offer Cabrera "at least" a three-year deal, though Cabrera could look to sign a four- or five-year deal on the open market. Toronto is likely to extend a $15.3 million qualifying offer to Cabrera, though he would decline that in search of a long-term deal on the open market.
Cabrera performed well in his second season with the Jays, hitting .301/.351/.458 with sixteen home runs and 73 RBI in 139 games. He will draw interest from lots of teams looking for outfield help on the free agent market, so the Jays are trying to get a jump on re-signing him before other offers can come in.
Toronto seems focused on Cabrera instead of outfielder Colby Rasmus, who is also a free agent after the conclusion of the postseason. Rasmus appears likely to move on from the Jays, with whom he has spent the three-and-a-half seasons.