Never a quiet Monday in Royals Land. I was out running errands and had already decided I wasn't going to write about the depressing but inevitable INSERT CORP NAME HERE news. (I'm sure the combination of our ownership group + a "financial services company" + the way MLB handles things usually will = everything is totally above board, to the benefit of fans and taxpayers, and will help the team on the field. Definitely. Definitely. Why would you doubt this at all? I know I don't. Definitely.)
The Royals have sent Melky Cabrera to San Francisco. In exchange for a year of Cabrera, the Royals have acquired starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and minor league arm Ryan Verdugo.
With Cabrera gone, we can, presumably assume that Lorenzo Cain now moves into the starting center field spot.
Here's McCovey Chronicles on the move:
This is a Sabean move, through and through. From Marvin Benard down past Dave Roberts, he loves trying center fielders who can't really play center field. Maybe they can! Maybe everyone's wrong about them!
Jonathan Sanchez is a famous name here, He's thrown a no-hitter in the past, and has posted superficially good numbers in a great pitchers' park. He simultaneously still seems young, but has been around forever, like a pitching version of Daphnis & Chloe. Surprisingly, like Cabrera, Sanchez will be a free agent after the 2012 season.
Yes, in 2011 Sanchez walked 5.9 batters per nine innings. Walks have always been his problem, and at age 28 that problem got even worse. Troubling.
Ryan Verdugo is a computer generated throw-in arm. Taken in the 9th round of the 2008 draft, Verdugo had primarily been a reliever in the minor leagues, in 2011 however, the Giants made him a starter. Minor league stats here.
Obligatory insta-verdict: This deal certainly takes the shape of many of the rumors and proposed swaps proffered by fans this autumn as a seemingly redundant position player was sent out for a pitcher. Sanchez is roughly an average to slightly above average pitcher. He's certainly a rotation upgrade. (2010 - 4.00 FIP, 3.94 xFIP, 2011 - 4.30 FIP, 4.36 xFIP) However, because of his contract status and middling nature, he isn't a difference maker in 2012 or a long term solution in the rotation. I'm not really sad to see Melky go, as I would not have bet that he was going to replicate his 2011 season. Essentially, we have a swap of 2-3 win players (if you think Sanchez can bounce back, a big assumption) with Verdugo thrown in. As has repeatedly been the case, it appears from the outside that Moore's timing on this trade is off, but obviously he felt this was the best deal he was going to make and that the pitching market was only going to get worse.
Did the Royals really just not get enough for Melky Freaking Cabrera? Talk me down, boys.