Once again, the Giants make a move that baffles:
…. The Royals traded outfielder Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on Wednesday
Um, yeah, that’s pretty much a joke. The Yankees would’ve given consideration to trading Jesus Montero for Sanchez. Jonathan Sanchez is one of the top young left-handers in the game. If you’re trading a guy with a no-hitter to his credit, (really, a perfect game), a lefty who tops out at 96 MPH; you absolutely have to get more for him than a career .275/.331/.398 .729 OPS hitter. But, of course, Cabrera just had the best year of his career -by about 50%- for the Royals, so Brian Sabean had to have him. And by the way, the best year of his life included a staggering 35 walks.
A really, really bad trade, one that makes sense only for the Royals. This is an epic fail, once again, for the Giants brain trust. One more mediocre hitter to add to the string of outs this team makes, and we gave up one of the most promising left-handers in the game.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying don’t trade some pitching for a hitter. I’m saying that we just traded probably the 6th most valuable left-handed starter in the NL for maybe the 40th best outfielder. In ’09, Sanchez was second in all of baseball among left-handers in K/9IP. In ’10, he was second again. This past season, battling injuries and inconsistency, he had a poor season, but still; Cabrera just had his best season ever, by a mile. Sanchez just had his worst. So, once again, Sabean overpays for a guy who, just like Rowand, is probably never gonna be that good again. Only this time, instead of $55 million, he trades away a 28-year old pitcher who’s already had a no-hitter, who is among the most unhittable guys in all of baseball.
UPDATE: For those of you questioning my logic, let me just mention that historically, lefty’s have blossomed late. In his age 26, 27, and 28-year old seasons, Cliff Lee’s WHIP were 1.22, 1.41, 1.52. During his 26, 27 and 28-year old seasons, Randy Johnson walked 120, 152, and a 144 hitters. His WHIP? 1.34, 1.50, 1.42. Sanchez’s career WHIP is 1.39. Sure, Randy Johnson was virtually unhittable. You know what? Sanchez is a pretty damn difficult pitcher to get solid contact against too. His numbers compare quite favorably to Johnson’s (and are better than Cliff Lee’s at that point in his career). Six seasons, 708 innings, 607 hits, 726 strikeouts, 376 walks. Johnsons’ first six seasons? 976 innings, 796 hits, 948 strikeouts, 615 walks. Pitchers who strike out a hitter per inning are few and far between.
Sanchez for Cabrera is a virtual throw away trade. A trade like this is perfectly in line with the Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano trade, front-line arms for a middle of the pack, completely replaceable bat. It is part and parcel when you
give the keys to your Mazeratti to a parking lot attendant.