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.