Giants Swap Pitching To Royals For Outfield Help




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The Deal
The Royals' No. 1 offseason priority was to acquire more starting pitching. The Giants have plenty of pitching, but had significant holes in a lineup that generated the fewest runs in the National League. So it made sense when San Francisco traded lefthander Jonathan Sanchez and Double-A lefthander Ryan Verdugo to the Royals for center fielder Melky Cabrera.

Sanchez can be dominant at his best, as he showed when he no-hit the Padres in 2009. But for most of his career he's mixed superb starts with wild ones. Sanchez went 13-9, 3.07 in 33 starts for the 2010 Giants, and while he led the NL with 6.6 hits allowed per nine innings that season, he also issued a league-leading 96 walks. Injuries limited him to 19 starts in 2011, but still he set a new personal standard for wildness by walking 5.9 batters per nine.

One short year ago, the Braves didn't even tender Cabrera a contract, but he experienced a career resurgence in Kansas City. Playing center field nearly every day he batted .305/.339/.470 with 18 homers for the Royals (121 OPS+), with Baseball-Reference crediting him with the first above-average adjusted OPS figure of his career.
 
Royals Acquire
Ryan Verdugo, lhp
Age: 24.
Born: April 10, 1987 in Mt. Vernon, Wash.
Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 195. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Louisiana State.
Career Transactions: Selected by Giants in ninth round of 2008 draft; signed July 23, 2008.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Richmond (EL) AA 8 6 4.35 25 25 0 130 115 68 63 14 63 133 1.37

When the Giants signed Verdugo out of Louisiana State, they knew they were getting a pitcher with average stuff but advanced pitchability. San Francisco tried Verdugo as a reliever in his first three pro seasons, which allowed his 89-90 mph fastball to sit more consistently at 92. He paired that with a plus changeup and developing slider, which convinced the Giants to move him back into the rotation in 2011, a move that produced some hiccups at Double-A. Verdugo continued to pile up strikeouts (9.2 per nine innings), but showed continued control troubles and a tendency to give up home runs. He profiles better as a lefty reliever, the role the Royals seem set on returning him to after the trade. Verdugo was not going to rank among the Giants Top 30 Prospects.
 
Jonathan Sanchez, lhp
Age: 28. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2012, then eligible for free agency following the season ($4.8 million salary in 2011).
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
San Francisco (MLB) 2011 4 7 4.26 19 19 0 101 80 54 48 9 66 102 1.44
3-Year Totals 8 9 3.75 28 27 0 153 119 70 64 16 83 161 1.33
 
Giants Acquire
Melky Cabrera, cf
Age: 27. Bats: B. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2012, then eligible for free agency following the season ($1.25 million salary in 2011).
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Kansas City (AL) 2011 .305 155 658 102 201 44 5 18 87 35 94 20 .339 .470
3-Year Totals .282 152 534 73 150 33 3 12 66 40 72 12 .332 .420

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