Originally written on 22gigantes  |  Last updated 11/18/14

The Melk Man is coming west (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Jonathan Sanchez‘s days as a Giant are over.

San Francisco traded the left-handed starter (and minor league pitcher Ryan Verdugo) to the Kansas City Royals today in exchange for 27-year old outfielder Melky Cabrera.

The switch-hitting Cabrera batted .305/.339/.470 (.809 OPS) with 18 HR, 44 doubles, 87 RBI, 201 hits, 102 runs, and 20 SB in a breakout season with Kansas City last year. Like Sanchez, he is arbitration eligible and will likely receive a decent raise from the $1.25 million he made in 2011. Barring an extension, Cabrera will become a free agent after the 2012 season.

Sanchez, who turns 29 in a couple of weeks, followed up his superb 2010 season (in which he went 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.231 WHIP and 205 strikeouts) by falling flat on his face in 2011 (4-7, 4.26, 1.441 WHIP, 102 K, and two stints on the disabled list). He was due to earn anywhere between $5 and $6 million in 2012.

Verdugo, 24, was drafted in the ninth round of the 2008 draft out of LSU and is a converted starter who did pretty well in Richmond (AA) last year. In 25 starts, the lefty was 8-6 with a 4.35 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.

Sanchez, who was selected by the Giants in the 27th round of the 2004 draft (and 820th overall), flashed signs of brilliance on some days and signs of frustration on most others.

He became the first Giants pitcher since John Montefusco to throw a no-hitter,  on July 10, 2009 against the San Diego Padres. It was a spot start for Sanchez, who was filling in for an injured Randy Johnson at the time. It became even more special because Dirty threw the no-no in front of his father (who was attending one of his son’s games for the first time).

But Sanchez never could solve his wildness. His walks total went from 5.2 per 9 innnings in 2006 (his first season) to a whopping 5.9 in 2011.

Cabrera, on the other hand, had a resurgent year in 2011, similar to the kind of year Andres Torres had in 2010. The former Yankee (who spent five years in the Bronx and also spent a season in Atlanta in 2010) doesn’t play anywhere near the kind of defense Torres does, though, so it will be interesting to see if the Giants keep Torres around for defensive purposes.

What others are saying about the trade…

  • “Source told me the Giants strongly considering B. Crawford at SS if they could improve lineup elsewhere. Melky is a move in that direction.” — Andrew Baggarly, San Jose Mercury News
  • “Stats that leap off the page from Melky Cabrera’s 2010 season: 201 hits, 102 runs scored.” – Carl Steward, San Jose Mercury News
  • “Trade is basically Sanchy for Good Andres Torres. Melky in 2011: 18 HR, 20 SB, .809 OPS…Torres in 2010: 16 HR, 26 SB, .822 OPS.” — Alex Pavlovic, San Francisco Chronicle
  • “At least now we know which “Sanchy” to whom Bochy will be referring.” — Mychael Urban, BugUrbSports
  • “Giants fans who complain about Sabean going after old guys should like the fact that Cabera is only 27.” – Carl Steward, San Jose Mercury News
  • “[Cabrera] is not a career .300 hitter. But he hit .305 last year and is coming into his FA contract year.” — Hank Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle
  • “And that, folks, is why the Giants didn’t sever ties with Barry Zito.” — John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle

I hope you enjoyed reading "Giants trade Jonathan Sanchez to Royals for Melky Cabrera." I'm interested in your opinion on this article. Why not leave a comment at 22gigantes.com?

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