The Kansas City Royals’ official Twitter account is reporting that the San Francisco Giants have traded left handed pitchers Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo to the Royals for outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Okay, before we all go nuts and call this the most San Francisco Giantsest trade of all time, let’s pause for a second to remember that Jonathan Sanchez, despite a decent 2010, was probably a non-tender candidate for the Giants In addition to the $5 million plus that he projects to earn next season through arbitration, his 2011 was marred with injury and a horrible 15% walk rate. His fastball’s velocity declined for the third straight year and in his 19 starts last season, he went past the sixth inning a grand total of three times.
This was all while pitching in the friendliest division for pitchers in the league. Not only was Sanchez fifth on the starting pitcher depth chart, it has to remembered how easy it is to turn an average pitcher into a decent one in the National League West. Ryan Vogelsong, anyone?
Cabrera, coming off the best year of his career at the age of 27, can likely be expected to steal some at bats away from the light hitting Andres Torres, especially against left handed pitchers. The switch hitter who mainly played center field last season in Kansas City, but has experience playing both of the corner outfield spots, could also fill in for the imminently departing Cody Ross.
MLB Trade Rumors projects that Cabrera will earn $4.4 million in his final year of arbitration in 2012. The Royals have a much cheaper center field option in Lorenzo Cain, who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Zack Greinke deal, waiting in the wings.
As for the other element of the deal, everything you need to know about Verdugo can be learned by the following fact: he’s a 24 year old Double A southpaw, who Baseball America ranked as the 25th best prospect in the Giants organization. Let’s refer to him as a JAOP, just above organizational player.
Overall take: It’s an okay deal for both teams. Paying $5 million plus for a fifth starter is too much for the Giants to afford. Paying $4 million plus for a center fielder when Lorenzo Cain is in your system is too much for the Royals to afford.