The San Francisco Giants traded Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo (a left-handed pitcher in the Giants’ minor league system) to the Kansas City Royals today for outfielder Melky Cabrera. This past season, Jonathan Sanchez showed a decline and wasn’t the same dominating pitcher that he was during the 2010 season. He was 4-7 this season with a 4.26 ERA, and he missed the entire last month of the season with a left ankle sprain. Sanchez had somewhat of a rocky road while with the Giants. He went from being a strong prospect at the starting pitcher position, then struggled with command and became a relief pitcher. Then he threw a no-hitter and regained his starter status, he continued his dominance all the way through the World Series title, and this past season he never seemed to reach that same level of dominance. Ryan Verdugo was 8-6 with a 4.35 ERA for Double-A Richmond this past season.
Melky Cabrera, in his first season with the Royals, hit a career-best .305, 18 home runs, and 87 RBI’s last season. Cabrera came into MLB with the Yankees and played there from 2005-2009. He won a World Series title with the Yankees in 2009. In 2010, he played for the Atlanta Braves before being traded this past season to the Royals. Cabrera could play center field for the Giants, but it ultimately depends on if the Giants retain Cody Ross or Andres Torres. However, Cabrera is a versatile athlete who can play any outfield position, so this acquisition gives the Giants many options.
This is a significant trade for the Giants. No one knows if Cabrera will become a huge difference maker this upcoming season. However, this trade is significant because it shows that Sabean is not afraid to trade pitching for hitting. He has shown reluctance to do so in the past couple seasons even when our hitting severely needed an upgrade. Sabean first showed this new trend when the Giants acquired Beltran last season for our strongest pitching prospect, Zack Wheeler. This trade is more significant though because it involves an actual starting pitcher, not just a prospect. Sabean said that they have not decided if they are going to target another starting pitcher, or if they will just stick with Barry Zito. If the Giants want to win another World Series title soon, the hitting had to be upgraded, obviously, and this is the first move towards a stronger, more well-rounded offense. The Giants still need to answer the shortstop question and need to bring in a few more hitters, but this is a great start to the offseason. The Giants re-signed both Lopez and Affeldt and have now brought in a quality hitter.
This trade might also signal that the Giants are unlikely to bring Carlos Beltran back. This statement might be a little too speculative, but the Giants simply might not have the money or the space in the outfield to bring him back. To read my opinion on if Beltran is worth bringing back read here. So far, the Giants have been tactical and smart in their spending and trades, so hopefully this trend continues throughout the rest of the offseason.