On November 7, 2011, the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants agreed on a trade that sent starting left handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and barely above organizational pitcher Ryan Verdugo to Kansas City in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera.
The deal, as more do than we let on, made sense for both teams. The Royals, in need of pitching help, were selling high on a replaceable asset coming off a career season. The Giants needed an outfielder, and were scheduled to overpay what was ultimately a fourth or fifth starter through arbitration if they were to keep Sanchez.
However, what appeared equal on paper in the off season proved to be anything but as the schedule progressed, and actual baseball was played. While Cabrera was gathering more base hits than any other player in baseball, Jonathan Sanchez seemed to be giving up more base hits that any other player in baseball. That is, when he managed to actually pitch in the zone.
Among starting pitchers with more than 50 innings pitched, Sanchez ranked last in xFIP, last in FIP and second last in ERA. His 16.3% walk rate and minuscule 0.82 strike out to walk ratio are both the worst in the league by a good measure.
And so, it comes with little surprise that Sanchez was designated for assignment today by Kansas City. When asked for comment, Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said the following: