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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Monday, November 07, 2011
Royals - Acquired Sanchez
Kansas City Royals - Acquired P Jonathan Sanchez and P Ryan Verdugo from the San Francisco Giants for OF Melky Cabrera.
I count many Giant fans as friends. I can’t imagine that any of them are happy at the moment. If the name Aaron Rowand doesn’t come up in discussing this trade I’d be shocked.
Strictly on the basis of play in 2011 the Giants get the better of this deal, but that’s a silly basis to make the deal. Cabrera is young enough that his excellent play last year could be a new talent level, but it’s roughly 7 to 1 against as best I can tell (yes, the Giants may have information that I don’t have access to and thus reason to be optimistic. But as Steve Mann pointed out years ago, people in baseball are generally overly optimistic about this kind of thing. And as a counter to this point, the Royals did deal him). To be clear, I’d expect him to revert to being a bad hitter for a starting corner outfielder and decent but not exceptional with the glove. As a corner outfielder that is.
I expect the plan is to play Cabrera in center. He’s not likely to be gouge your eyes out awful, but he is stretched. It’s also moderately likely that Andres Torres comes into the equation either as the starter in center (I’d bet against this) or as a late inning defensive replacement (with Cabrera shifting to left), but nothing is settled yet. And if there’s one GM whose intentions I have a consistently bad read on it’s Brian Sabean.
The funny thing about this deal from the point of view of the Giants is that they could get everything they hope for from Cabrera and still regret the deal. I don’t think it’s likely, but every now and then a pure power pitcher like Sanchez figures out the strike zone. Here again you can argue for both sides of the improvement case. Maybe the Giants believe it just won’t happen, maybe the Royals have spotted a correctable mechanical issue. More likely the Royals are selling high, buying low and following the old mantra that you never know with pitchers (and can never have enough pitchers). Sanchez clearly has enough of an arm to be worth taking a shot on. All in all I’d bet on a frustrating , slightly above 1 WAR pitcher (which makes the kvetching about the deal kind of over the top, but I still hate, hate, hate the deal from the Giants point of view). Not many hits, plenty of strikeouts but far too many walks and an uncomfortable number of home runs.
I’m not sure why the Giants have to give up an extra player, and to be honest I wouldn’t be shocked if Verdugo turns out to have the best future of anybody in the deal. Don’t get me wrong, he’s strictly a suspect. Plenty of pitchers have piled up huge strikeout rates it the low minors only to fail as they move up. And he has obvious control issues. Still, as a starter in AA he struck out more than one hitter per inning and starting pitchers with that kind of K rate (and a K/BB rate of better than 2-1) always have a chance.
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