The Giants are willing to trade Jonathan Sanchez

According to Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Giants are willing to trade Jonathan Sanchez “in an effort to free up money so they can pursue offensive upgrade.” Sanchez, 28, projects to make around $6MM in arbitration; with Barry Zito under contract through 2013 and Eric Surkamp under team control, Sanchez is somewhat expendable — that is, if the Giants are content with putting Zito or Surkamp at the back end of the rotation.

2011 was a down year for Sanchez, and he only managed to make 19 starts (due to injuries); In 101.1 innings, he posted a 4.26 ERA/4.30 FIP/4.36 xFIP. Few starters in baseball can strike out hitters at the rate that Sanchez has maintained over his career — his 9.36 K/9 is tied with Clayton Kershaw for second-highest among active starters (min. 500 IP). Though he incurred a couple injuries and lost complete control of the strikezone this season (14.9% BB%), his trade value is helped by the fact that this year’s free agent market for starting pitchers is pretty thin.

Back in September, it seemed as though the Giants were all but prepared to slide Sanchez into the fifth slot of the rotation:

Zito will be in camp this spring to compete for the No.5 starter job. It’s looking like Sanchez will be the guy, though.

Zito, then, would presumably become the fifth starter. In his nine starts this year, the results were not pretty: 5.87 ERA/5.60 FIP/4.65 xFIP. He lost a couple MPH off of his fastball, and his strikeout rate dipped accordingly (5.37 per nine innings, the lowest of his career). He’s more-or-less been a league-average pitcher during his time in San Francisco, but it’s hard to believe he’ll continue to pitch like that in 2012 and beyond, as he continues to age.

Eric Surkamp, too, had an underwhelming 2011 (in the majors, that is), and is an even more unattractive option than Zito at the back of the rotation.

Anyway, for the right return, this could be a good move for the Giants. But only if they trust that they won’t trouble finding a replacement for Sanchez in the rotation.

NL Awards Voting

As a member of the BBA, and a contributor to Beyond the Box Score, I’ve taken part in a couple end-of-year award votes thus far. Here’s my NL ballot:

NL MVP

Matt Kemp: After a dismal showing in 2010, Kemp bounced back in remarkable fashion; in 161 games (he appeared in every single Dodgers game this year), he posted a .324/.399/.586 line and nearly joined the elusive 40/40 club (39 homers, 40 steals). That kind of offensive production from an up-the-middle position is quite special, and while his defense is no asset, he managed to lead the National League in wins above replacement by a pretty significant margin.

The rest:
2. Ryan Braun
3. Roy Halladay
4. Troy Tulowitzki
5. Justin Upton

 

NL Cy Young

Roy Halladay: It’s close between the trio of Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Clayton Kershaw, but I give Halladay the edge. They all had nearly identical innings counts, and vary when it comes to their fielding-independent numbers (Halladay, for example, is third in the NL in xFIP and SIERA, and first in tERA). However, he leads in FIP- (56) by a lot (Kershaw is at 66, Lee is at 67).

The rest:
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Cliff Lee
4. Madison Bumgarner
5. Matt Cain

 

NL Rookie of the Year

Wilson Ramos: I doubt he’ll win it, but he really deserves strong consideration. Above-average offensive production (.267/.334/.445, 109 wRC+) from the catching position, combined with something most people probably didn’t notice: outstanding defense behind the plate. His ability to cut down would-be base-stealers, block pitches in the dirt, and frame borderline strikes accounted for an estimated +1.5 wins in value. All in all, that’s enough to put him over the top in my mind.

The rest:
2. Danny Espinosa
3. Craig Kimbrel

Splash Hits: Eliminated-from-Playoff-Contention Edition

Sunday afternoon links…

Giants/NL West

Tim Lincecum’s Contract Thoughts Are What A GM Should Want To Hear – Baseball Nation
Tim Lincecum noted that he’d prefer to take things year to year rather than sign a long-term contract. That should be music to a general manager’s ears.

The 2011 Backes « Bay City Ball | Giants Baseball with a Side of STATS!
The question that I can’t help but think of in such a situation is this: who are the four worst pitchers to beat the Giants this year? I call it the Backe awards.

This Week in Mismanagement — The ‘Break Out the Belt’ Edition | Getting Blanked | Blogs | theScore.com
Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy is often lauded as one of the best managers in baseball, but the truth is, he seems to make more questionable calls than most of his contemporaries. Case in point: his use of rookie Brandon Belt.

15,000 days since a rare Marichal feat
15,000 days ago, Giants ace Juan Marichal achieved a notable milestone, winning his 200th game.

Kershaw and his evolving slider – Baseball Analytics Blog – MLB Baseball Analytics
Check out the evolution of the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw from a fastball/curveball pitcher to a fastball/slider pitcher.

Golden Gloves For The Arizona Outfield? – AZ Snake Pit
By UZR, Arizona has the three best outfielders in the league.

MLB

Report: MLB likely to add Wild Card, implement one-game playoff | HardballTalk
The MLB playoff system is about to get an overhaul.

The myth and reality of ‘valuable’ – Los Angeles Dodger Thoughts Blog – ESPN Los Angeles
The idea that an MVP must come from a contending team is completely invented. It is not part of the rules of the award nor its roots.

The Next Moneyball: Seven Movies That Hollywood Should Consider – Baseball Nation
What other teams should get the “Moneyball” treatment?

Bud Selig threatens to terminate Dodgers from MLB if Frank McCourt does not sell | HardballTalk
The only thing that can save current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is a high-dollar and stable new television contract — one that will bring financial security to a club buried in bankruptcy court.

MLB, MLBPA To Bring “All-Star Team” to Taiwan in November
Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) today announced that a team of Major Leaguers will travel to Taiwan this November to play against the Chinese Taipei national team in the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series.

Game Recap: Clayton Kershaw does Clayton Kershaw things

Dodgers 2, Giants 1.

Same old story. This time, Kershaw kept the Giants to one run over 7.1 innings — his lone mistake a home run to Chris Stewart (you really can’t predict baseball). It was the first homer he’d allowed to a Giant this season (in five starts).

The Giants also got a taste of Kenley Jansenwho’s been doing pretty amazing things this season — in the top of the eighth; he struck out the two hitters he faced — Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran — on seven pitches.

Javy Guerra is a right-handed pitcher. He threw the entire ninth inning for the Giants, and faced two right-handed hitters — Mark DeRosa and Brett Pill — followed by Aubrey Huff. Brandon Belt, who’s homered in three straight games, sat on the bench the whole time. I mean, I can understand not putting him in the lineup against Kershaw. That’s defensible. But to have Pill and DeRosa face a righty, over Belt, and then to have Huff pinch hit for Orlando Cabrera — over Belt……enough is enough.

Well, the season’s almost over. The Giants have eight games left. If they win every single one of those games, they’ll finish the season at 91 wins. The DBacks, currently at 89 wins, have seven games left. It’s simple math — barring some kind of miraculous come back, Arizona will win the NL West. With the wild card, it’s closer…yet pretty much the same story. The Braves are at 88 wins, with seven games left.