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Royals get Jonathan Sanchez from Giants for Melky Cabrera

Nov 7, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

Jonathan Sanchez

Suddenly the Royals’ lack of interest in signing Melky Cabrera to a contract extension makes even more sense, as Kansas City has traded the outfielder to San Francisco for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez and pitching prospect Ryan Verdugo.

Cabrera is coming off a career-year and the Giants can certainly use lineup help, but he hit just .260 with a .319 on-base percentage and .372 slugging percentage during the previous three seasons. He’s in his prime at age 28, but Cabrera is also a prime candidate to regress significantly in 2012 and will be a free agent next offseason.

Sanchez is the opposite story, as he struggled this season after a strong 2010 that saw him throw 193 innings with a 3.07 ERA and 205 strikeouts. He also walked a league-high 96 batters even while faring well overall and this year Sanchez posted a 4.26 ERA with 66 walks in 103 innings. Verdugo is a marginal prospect, so this is pretty close to a one-for-one swap and I like the move more for the Royals.

They’re stacked with young position players and need rotation help, so buying low on Sanchez is smart and as a 28-year-old with a 4.27 ERA and 669 strikeouts in 646 innings as a starter he still has plenty of upside if they can get him to throw strikes. And if not he might be a late-inning bullpen option. Cabrera is a solid all-around player and was much more valuable than Sanchez in 2011, but the Giants are buying high on someone who’s more often than not been fourth outfielder-quality.

This move also opens the door for Lorenzo Cain as the Royals’ starting center fielder, assuming they don’t rekindle those trade talks with the Braves for Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado.

  1. phukyouk - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    WOW! seems like a pretty stupid move on the Giants side.. The “Melk Man” is not worth that..

    • baseballisboring - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      For REAL. Melky is the impact bat that you’re going to get rid of that type of arm for???

      • dreadpiratesteve - Nov 7, 2011 at 3:19 PM

        Its a good move for SF. Sanchez is Ollie Perez Jr. All the talent in the world with zero command of it. Glad to see “Captain Walks” out of the Orange and Black.

      • baseballisboring - Nov 7, 2011 at 5:20 PM

        So what, you’d rather spend 5 million on Affeldt than ~6 on Sanchez? It’s not even trading Sanchez that bothers me per se, cause the Giants pitching is good, but their offense is awful and I don’t see how a light hitting corner outfielder with a .319 career OBP is the solution. They needed to do better than that and I *really* think they could have.

      • 2010worldchamps - Nov 8, 2011 at 12:56 AM

        you obviously know nothing about baseball or the giants trying to trade him. first hes not worth a type flight player in return and everyone they tried to trade him to low balled them in return. plus after last year no one would have given up more then what they got. and look at his entire 4 yr starting career dude had one good year and still led the league in walks. hes not just going to start throwing strikes because hes in the al, dude has great stuff just cant locate and is a headcase!

    • thekcubrats - Nov 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      Stupid? Just typical Sabean, jumping the gun to make the wrong move first. As a G fan, the most galling thing about it is not this move, overpaying for a career mediocrity (albeit not old; perhaps Sabean is… nah), selling low and buying high, but the move that wasn’t made a year ago, when Filthy might have brought… Prince’s last year of FA? Jesus and ManBan from the Yanks? the entire sMet farm system? G might’ve squeaked into the ‘offs again this year if he had squeezed that market for all it was worth. And that miracle WS ring last year means he gets to keep making the same stupid mistake-upon-mistake, bad move compounding bad move, until he thromboses.

    • 2010worldchamps - Nov 8, 2011 at 12:52 AM

      and sanchez is worth something? dude is a headcase. its a good move for both teams, think about it melky is younger and going into a contract year so he might play even better. plus the giants dont need him as their 5h starter if you watched a giants game you would now they need a cf more then they need a headcase 5th starter. and mark my words sanchez will go 7-15 for that shitty royals team. they r still 2 yrs away from having any real chance

  2. drmonkeyarmy - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    That is the best the Giants could do for Sanchez?

    • woodsmeister - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      This is the best the Royals could do for Cabrera?

      • paperlions - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:46 PM

        Yeah, it is.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        Yeah, I agree with that. I like this move for the Royals. I’m not saying that Sanchez will be great just that there is a better chance of him being part of a long term future in KC than there was with Cabrera.

    • 2010worldchamps - Nov 8, 2011 at 1:07 AM

      yes, who do you think they can get for that guy?

  3. phillyphreak - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    I’m confused on why Sanchez is suddenly so good?

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      He’s not…but I just think with pitching at a premium that they could have gotten a little bit more than a guy with a career OPS around .730. Trust me, I am glad he is gone from the NL. I don’t like him one bit and always get the feeling that he is about ready to launch a ball at Utley’s face.

      • phillyphreak - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        Eh, it seems pretty even to me. Sanchez is a career 4.00ERA (same for FIP/xFIP) pitcher. He had one good year pretty much.

        Both teams probably got what they wanted.

      • phillyphreak - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:51 PM

        Should say 4.00+ ERA

      • paperlions - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:01 PM

        If he can continue to put up and xFIP of 4.00, over 175+ innings…that is worth a lot more than a .730 ops and replacement level CF defense. The underlying numbers didn’t change for Cabrera last year…similar LD%, GB%, FB%, K%, and BB% (which actually dipped a little)….he just got lucky with a few extra balls falling in last year (.332 BABIP)…he should be back to his normal 0.5 WAR “production” next year.

        As doc said, it isn’t like Sanchez is great, but a middle of the rotation (or even back end) lefty starter than can go 200 innings is far more valuable than a Melky Cabrera.

      • normb11 - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        “If he can continue to put up and xFIP of 4.00, over 175+ innings…that is worth a lot more than a .730 ops and replacement level CF defense.”

        That has happened ONCE in Sanchez’s career.
        “As doc said, it isn’t like Sanchez is great, but a middle of the rotation (or even back end) lefty starter than can go 200 innings is far more valuable than a Melky Cabrera.”

        That has NEVER happened.
        It’s an even swap of two non-impact players that will help both teams. I don’t get the Sanchez love or the Melky hate.

      • phillyphreak - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

        Paper- I understand that but it’s not a big travesty rip off of a trade that some think. I would agree that Cabrear is going to regress (maybe a bunch). But I would think he might slide over to a corner slot and not play center anymore.

        My point was that Sanchez isn’t necessarily going to be improve on what he is either. He’s thrown 193 innings one time. He’s never reached 200 (though the number is arbitrary I guess), throws a ton of pitches and walks too many batters.

        To me it’s a push. I understand it from both ends- the Royals want pitching and the Giants want bats.

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      Jonathan Sanchez is nothing more than a ham and egger pitcher. Look at his career numbers. His ERA and WHIP are longer than my arm. To get a decent hitter like Cabrera was a steal. There are many Jonathan Sanchez type pitchers out there. He’s nothing special.

      • paperlions - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        Cabrera is not a decent hitter….in fact….he kind of sucks….he hits fine for a defensive stud CF, but he isn’t that….he won’t solve anyone’s offensive or defensive holes. The Giants could afford to give up Sanchez, but Cabrera didn’t make them any better.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:09 PM


        The guy hit .305 last year with 18 bombs. He also had over 200 hits. Pretty good year. He also had a few other years where he hit in the .270 – .280 range.

        Maybe the guy figured it out at the plate. He’s only 28. Sanchez, however, has pretty much always been a scrub. I think the Giants got the better end of the deal. Only time will tell.

      • paperlions - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

        The guy has 3363 career plate appearance, while last year was nice and could possibly represent a new level of production for Cabrera, it is far more likely that he simply got lucky last year (because the underlying data doesn’t show that he changed anything about his approach or the results of his plate appearances). It is always better to bet on the preponderance of data, rather than the outlier. Before last year he was never close to a league average hitter…it is most likely that he’ll return to his previous level of production (because that is almost always what happens in such cases) and continue to play below average defense. The Giants aren’t any better now than they were yesterday…they just have fewer assets to use to try to improve.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        I’m thinking it’s a wash. Sanchez is not going to look better in the division he’s going to and Melky may. And Sanchez, well Sanchez has always seemed like a total ____ bag.

      • halladaysbiceps - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        “Before last year he was never close to a league average hitter”

        Paper, this is simple incorrect. Last year, the AL league batting average was .258. Well, Cabrera is a lifetime .275 hitter. Even if you take out last year, he’s still way above .258.

      • paperlions - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:50 PM

        Haha…you are probably right…we are arguing about two crappy players that likely won’t have appreciable positive effects on their teams going forward….just as they have not historically…..hey, it’s monday…what else am I supposed to do? Work continuously?

      • Ari Collins - Nov 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        biceps, if getting singles were the only good thing you could do as a hitter, then Melky would be above average for his career. But it’s not. And he isn’t.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      He has great stuff, needs to learn better control. If he could limit the walks he would be a damn fine pitcher, and LH no less. Maybe not a superstar, but certainly above average.

      • cur68 - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:34 PM

        Is Kauffman (or “Tightwadbank Park”: my new front runner for what they should call Kauffman) not a cavern? A big park? Sure looks big on this here TV I watch baseball on. I think Sanchez does well there. I see this as a decent move by both organizations.

      • rhandome - Nov 7, 2011 at 6:30 PM

        Giants fans have been waiting for J-Sanch to “learn better control” for years. Good luck with that, KC.

    • 2010worldchamps - Nov 8, 2011 at 12:57 AM

      me to, what has he ever done to warrant someone good in return?

  4. smcgaels1997 - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Because Sanchez is jeckell/hyde they were never going to get top value for him regardless. Good trade for both sides..and the Giants still have more pitchers in the system to offset

  5. woodsmeister - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Scratch San Francisco from the Grady Sizemore Free Agency Road Show Tour itinerary.

  6. redux23 - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    seems a bit young for sabean

  7. alang3131982 - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Seems pretty even to me. I mean Melky always had talent, just couldnt stay in shape (or didnt want to). Of course, the likelihood of him playing all that well in CF for the SFG is pretty small.

    Sanchez is good, but leaving that park has to hurt, plus he walks so many batters. Seems like a pretty even trade. I’d take the Royals side, but makes sense from both teams.

    • clydeserra - Nov 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      The trade itself isn’t terrible (the Royals get points for selling high and buying low).

      The problem for the Giants is the opportunity cost. They could have had Coco Crisp for free. Or a flyer on Grady Sizmore, for free.

      Either of those guys could be had and they still would have Sanchez to deal.

      • Ari Collins - Nov 7, 2011 at 4:39 PM


      • 2010worldchamps - Nov 8, 2011 at 12:58 AM

        crisp has no arm and older, and sizemore hasnt been the same player for 3 yrs cant stay healthy, have you watched any baseball since 07?

  8. yournuts - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    I love Melky too but he is not really a upgrade from a healthy Andreas Torres. This move is somewhat strange for the Giants.

    • woodsmeister - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:59 PM

      What part of putting up similar numbers and being 5 years younger than Andres Torres is not an upgrade? What am I missing here?

      • yournuts - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        Free agency next year.

      • thekcubrats - Nov 7, 2011 at 3:56 PM

        you are missing the obvious: the Rowand contract Sabean is about to hand Melky, as a reward for his .809 OPS blip

  9. xpensivewinos - Nov 7, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Seems like a proverbial win-win. Royals get a potentially stud young arm who has shown flashes in the past and they traded a guy they feel they can immediately replace with Cain………..while the Giants trade from an area of strength and upgrade their offense with a player that is a fraction of what they would pay Beltran with no guarantee the numbers will be any better and with less injury risk.

    I like it for both teams.

  10. Jonny 5 - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    I can’t stand Sanchez. Dirty Sanchez……

    In weighing talent, I guess it’s a wash. But Melky is a fun guy and isn’t an a-hole like Sanchez is. Sanchez will get knocked around in the AL, and he’ll show his true colors then.

    • halladaysbiceps - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      Waking up to a Dirty Sanchez is never a picnic for anyone, not that I have any experience with that.

    • phukyouk - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      I was never a fan of Melky as a player. He seemed like a cancer to Cano while with the Yanks. too childish on the field. once he left the Yanks Cano blew up big time. i wish him well though

  11. scatterbrian - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    If the Giants also end up signing Beltran, their OF defense is going to be hideous.

  12. SOBEIT - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    I’m confused how Sabean can keep saying that pitching is the key to this team and then keep signing players who are terrible defensively in a large OF. Last year it was signing an old SS in Tejada. I like Beltran’s bat, but having him roam RF is asking for huge errors and eventually an injury…which is pretty much guaranteed with Beltran. Anyone see that first fly Beltran caught at AT&T where he jammed his knee into the turf trying to slide catch the fly? Not only was it not gracefully athletic, it was an injury waiting to happen.

    Now Melky in CF? Really? Belt in LF? Really? I like the kid but he does not have the legs for OF. The only good defender we have is Schierholtz and Torres. Not sure what happens to Torres now…will he get to compete in spring training or will he be released.

    As far as Sanchez is concerned…he pitched his way off the team. All he had to do was throw strikes. Who cares if you get hit…just throw strikes. Plus he could barely get through the 5th inning…he was a bullpen killer, next to Zito. I think there is more to the injuries he sustained than we were told. I love Sanchez 2010…but how often will we have seen that from him.

    I have a feeling Melky will end up being the 4th OF again. We had to trade Dirty, but I would rather have a prospect than Melky…and the Royals are loaded with great prospects. What was Sabean thinking…apparently not about the pitchers.

    • 2010worldchamps - Nov 8, 2011 at 1:05 AM

      they are loaded with great prospects which you wouldnt give up for a guy like sanchez idiot, torres who cares career aaa player, he was thinking we need bats and whos going to get the 5th spot zito and his 18mil or the headcase sanchez? you get nothing for zito atleast you got a guy that hit .300 had a lil pop drove in 80…anyone for the giants hit like that in the outfield last year? torres? and beltran was a stupid trade giving up a top 35 prospect your best minor league arm for a guy who cant stay healthy. if you want to be mad about trading a pitcher be mad at that move. i do agree sabean must go to many dumb moves but this one wasnt one of them

      • SOBEIT - Nov 8, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        First we just gave up Sanchez for a 4th OF…a minor leaguer or 2 would have been better. You must be under the delusion that Melky can repeat what he did last year…just like Cody Ross was supposed to have a good year last year. Melky will be as effective as the other Cabrerra we got last year. And yes, teams give up prospects. We could have gotten a decent prospect and saved $5M-$6M that is now going to Melky to be our 4th OF. Maybe not Cain, but the Royals are 2 deep at every position with key prospects.

        The idiot here is you listing off scenarios that I never mentioned and no one would consider. I wasn’t mad that we got rid of Sanchez. I was mad we got rid of him for a scrub. A prospect would have had much higher upside with the minor leaguers in the Royals system.

  13. sisqsage - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Cabrera had a 200-hit season. You have to be good to pull that off. Sancheeee is a head case. If he does well for the Royals who really cares, or will notice?

    Cabrera could be part of the solution for the Giants’ lame offense.

    • Ari Collins - Nov 7, 2011 at 4:39 PM

      If Melky is your answer, you’re asking the wrong question.

    • scatterbrian - Nov 7, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      But you don’t have to be good to pull off a 200-strikeout season?

  14. yournuts - Nov 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I think Sabean was looking for someone to be a dinner companion for the Panda. I understand that they both really good at the buffet.

  15. - Nov 7, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    I just heard about this. So what you’re telling is the Royals traded Melky for another Luke Hochaver? Ehh Better than Vin Mazzaro, Sean O’Sullivan, or Kyle Davies, I guess.

    Cain comes up, although I’m betting he doesn’t match Melky’s production, but I had the same thought about Melky.

    The fact that Giants fans don’t like it tells me it’s a Push, or a slight win for the Royals.

  16. Marty - Nov 7, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Sanchez was 5-10% of that pitching staff.

    If Cabrera has really met his prime, then a fielder with 18 jacks and a 300+ BA will be 25% of the Giants offense.

    Risks aside, a win for the Giants.

    • thekcubrats - Nov 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

      you make the typical mistake, Sabean’s mistake, of thinking last year’s stats are a menu you can just plug into your team; you must be terrible at FLB, but probably not as bad as Sabes is

      • Marty - Nov 7, 2011 at 11:31 PM

        You manage fantasy based on what a player *should* be doing? Great, where do I sign up to skull f*** you? ESPN it Yahoo?!

        Btw, Sabes has a ring, chappy.

  17. granted42 - Nov 7, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    As a Giants fan, I can only say meh to this trade. I think it shows how much confidence the team has lost in Sanchez, trading him and a prospect for an average outfielder. An average outfielder, who even at his worst year of .249 BA, still would have been an All Star candidate in the Giants pathetic 2011 line up. Meh, this move isn’t going to get me to buy more tickets than last year.

  18. yournuts - Nov 7, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Melky has always played on teams that had been stacked with professional hitters, KC, Atlanta and the Yankees. It will be interesting to see how he will react to a this Giant’s team. I’m hoping that he will have a decent year for the Giants.

  19. dmo84 - Nov 7, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    Probably could’ve had either one of the Twins CF’s. Span or Revere play outstanding defense and are leadoff hitters. Twins are in desperate need of pitching(starters or bullpen).

  20. spudchukar - Nov 8, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    Both team have needs, but this move satisfies the Royals needs more than the Giants. Sure the Giants need some thunder, but it is hard to see where Cabrera fits in. With Huff resigned for 2012, with the Giants holding 2013 option, Belt would have to play LF. Does this indicate they are not in on a Beltran resigning? Perhaps. Schierholtz had a career year, but it is hard to see him as anything but a part-time OF, not much pop, and with Torres or whomever, that is an awful powerless OF. Gotta believe they pursue some righty OF with punch.

    • SOBEIT - Nov 8, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      It looks like beltran is not on the radar anymore according to another article. So Schierholtz in RF, Melky in CF and Belt in LF. Torres/Ross will be non-tendered in the hopes that they like it so much in SF (or they didn’t get any offers elsewhere) that they resign at lower than arbitration rates…$1-2M each max. Easier for Torres to accept, not sure about Ross.

  21. paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:12 PM


  22. paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:13 PM



  23. paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:14 PM



  24. paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:15 PM


  25. paperlions - Nov 14, 2011 at 1:18 PM


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