Royals Acquire Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera

By Bryan Lutz

I really don’t know who the “buyer” is in this trade, but the Kansas City Royals have acquired left-handed pitcher, Jonathan Sanchez from the Giants for outfielder Melky Cabrera.

Sanchez had a very rocky 2011.  He only threw 101 innings in 19 starts, and had ERA of 4.26.  Sanchez has always had control problems, and 2011 was no different, in which he walked nearly six batters per nine innings.  There is nothing hiding with Sanchez.  His FIP was over 4 as well, and his BABIP was in the low .270s.  One of the positive things about Sanchez is his age.  At 26, he could get it all figured out because the potential is there.  With a career K/9 rate over 9, he has the stuff to dominate.  He just needs to locate it.

Going over to the Bay is the Melk man.  Melky Cabrera had a resurgent year for the Royals.  He had a slash line of .305/.339/.470.  He compiled a 4.2 WAR which was aided by being a CF.  Cabrera is a below average defender.  He has a career -23.6 UZR, which includes a -6.7  in 2011.

Few things stick out in my mind on this trade:

Melky Cabrera’s BABIP was .332.  He is very likely a .280 hitter with no walking ability.  Not the .305 hitter with .470 slugging that he showed in 2011.  Also, Cabrera is a wretched defender.  In the spacious ATT Park, that -6.7 from last year could very likely be -10 in 2012.

Jonathan Sanchez still has potential.  He could be one of the thousands of pitchers that has all the stuff in the world, but doesn’t know what to do with it.  However, that stuff is still there.  Giants basically traded a potential good mid-rotation, 3-win pitcher, for a career scrub outside of 2011.

Basically to sum it up, it’s pretty much a wash as of now, with long term potential heavily favorable the Royals.  All in all it’s a good move for Kansas City.

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