Melky Cabrera/Jonathan Sanchez Trade Reaction

What follows is a series of facts — in no particular order — that as a whole illustrate how I feel about this trade:

I. Jonathan Sanchez is a good pitcher. A frustrating pitcher, sure. He’s certainly more Oliver Perez than Randy Johnson, but he’s quite a nice guy to have at the back of a rotation. Over the last four years, he’s averaged roughly 2 WAR/season. Not bad for a guy that would have been the Giants’ fifth starter. 

II. Jonathan Sanchez is expensive, but not that expensive. Through arbitration, he projects to make a little more money than Melky Cabrera. The difference is negligible though. 

III. Melky Cabrera is a below-average defensive centerfielder. There, he’s posted a -7.3 UZR/150 and -16 DRS in ~4500 innings.

IV. Andres Torres, on the other hand, is an above-average defensive centerfielder. There, he’s posted a 12.8 UZR/150 and +5 DRS in ~2000 innings.

V. Melky Cabrera has hit .282/.332/.420 (101 OPS+) over the past three seasons.

VI. Andres Torres has hit .252/.332/.436 (109 OPS+) over the past three seasons.

VII. Torres will be less expensive than Cabrera this offseason.

VIII. Barry Zito is not as good a starter as Jonathan Sanchez.

IX. Neither is Eric Surkamp, particularly if his first six major-league starts are any indication.

So in sum, the Giants just:

  • Downgraded their rotation, maybe by as much as one or two wins.
  • Barely — if at all — improved their outlook in centerfield.
  • Saved about a million dollars.  
I just can’t get behind this deal, especially if this means Cabrera is the starting centerfielder (which I presume is the case?). I don’t really mind losing Verdugo, but that’s not really important anyway. 

11 thoughts on “Melky Cabrera/Jonathan Sanchez Trade Reaction

  1. We just traded a pitcher that has a career line of 38-46 with a 4.26 ERA. for a hitter that has a career batting average of .275 and you don’t like it? I’m jumping for joy.. Enough of Torres and J Sanchez. I’ll take .275 out of the lead off position and never look back.

  2. Man I hate this deal. Sanchez has had his struggles, but he can be electric and if he has another 2010 kind of season, this could go down as one of the worst trades of Sabean’s career. Cabrera just smells like the exact same kind of low walk/power, contact based hitter who seem to make the Giants offense what it is today: terrible. We already have two players who have similar offensive abilities in the outfield, but with better defense so why would we need a third? We already have Belt and Huff who will both presumably be in the starting lineup. I just don’t get you Sabean, c’mon.

  3. Not sure how I feel. Giving up Ryan Verdugo as well kind of tips me towards not liking the trade. I trust the Giants to evaluate their pitchers for the most part. I don’t trust them to evaluate hitters though. The positives I can think of: Cabrera is a switch hitter, and he’s about five years younger than the guys Sabean usually targets, and he’s coming off a career year going into his prime 27-30 years, and he’s cheap. The negatives: he’s coming off a career year, his D isn’t that good, Sanchez is pretty cheap and might still put it together. This trade might have to be evaluated with whatever else Sabean puts together this offseason. If it means giving up on Torres to further save money, I’m really bumming on it.

  4. I think that’s kind of a pessimistic way of looking at it. Haha but don’t get me wrong, I immediately thought of how much a problem that No. 5 spot in our rotation will be without Sanchez. Anybody would still take him over Surkamp/Zito in that spot.

    But Melky’s coming off a career year and he’s in his prime. His defense is suspect, but I’ll still take his production in our lineup over Torres/Cody anyday, especially if he can continue to produce like he did this year.

    Bottom line is we’ve wanted to trade Sanchez for a while now, and I think the Giants are lucky to even get a guy who posted Melky’s stats from this year. Didn’t even think we could come close to getting a guy like that. Whether it pans out is a matter of time. I need some educating on Melky though. Is he a gap hitter? Would he bat leadoff? A lot of his success hinges on how he can adjust to hitting at AT&T.

  5. I’m not sure how I feel either. I was open to trading Dirty as well but not until the end of ST we find out about the 4th/5th SP candidates Vogelsong, Zito, and Surkamp.

    I wanted the giants to look into the cuban defector that is drawing mike trout comparisons with more power. Now with the melky acquisition, I’m picturing marvin benard in the OF. yikes.

    Well, the only given is Ross is definitely gone. I’d like the giants to offer arbitration Torres to be the 4th OF since his def is awesome and we would have some pop/speed off the bench.

    So it looks like a starting OF of Belt, Melky, Schierholtz unless Beltran decides to re-sign. I’m not liking the starting OF def.

  6. I’m ok with throwing out the w/l records and agree on your post. However, let’s then use the 4.26 ERA, 4.8 Walks/9 and a Whip of 1.441 last year. Personally I’m over the guy. I do like the K’s but aside from that, he truly resembles Oliver Perez. He’s had 6 years with the team and hasn’t figured it out yet. Watching our lead off hitters (daily) shat the bed is worse that dealing with a # 5 (Surkamp or whomever) every 5 days.

  7. Pingback: Danny Knobler: Carlos Beltran could be a “stretch” to fit in Giants’ budget » Giants Nirvana | SF Giants Blog

  8. You never trade on of your starting rotation, for
    a middle of the road outfielder. One whom you could
    get the likes of without trading one of your starting
    rotation. Now we need a 5th starter again, unless you
    want Zito or Surkamp. Zito could easily go 4 and 18.
    Sanchez will be 29, Vogelsong did not figure it out
    until 33. I hope it works out, it still may, but
    I do not like it. If Melky and Jonathan each hit their
    potential in 2012, the giants were robbed.

  9. Per Baseball Reference, the three most similar batters to Melky Cabrera:

    1. Barry Bonnell
    2. Terrence Long
    3. Marvin Benard


  10. Pingback: More Melky Cabrera Ramblings » Giants Nirvana | SF Giants Blog

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