Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez may not go down as one of the all-time most lopsided trades unless Melky continues to play at an All-Star level for several years, but it is one the quickest in terms of how easily it has been to judge a winner.
Today, Jonathan Sanchez was designated for assignment by Kansas City, less than nine months after he was acquired from San Francisco in exchange for Melky Cabrera. After his gem yesterday, Sanchez has a 7.75 ERA, more walks than strikeouts, and a 2.04 WHIP. To put that in perspective, only seven players (Votto, Wright, McCutchen, Mauer, Ortiz, Ruiz, and Austin Jackson) in all of baseball have a higher on base percentage than Sanchez has allowed this year.
Meanwhile, just nine months later, Melky Cabrera is getting more votes than Ryan Braun for an All-Star game. Cabrera is following up a breakout season at age 25 with an even better one this year. Hindsight is of course 20/20. The Royals aren’t the first team to move on from Cabrera, as he spent time at the majors with both the Yankees and Braves. If you assess the players nine months ago, it looks like advantage Melky (younger, better comparables, a hitter versus pitcher when that pitcher is 29 and replacement level starter) but not lopsidedly so. Man, it has swung about as far as possible for both players in opposite directions, though.
The frustrating thing for Royals fans, in addition to just how truly horrific Sanchez has been, is that (a) the team is still desperate enough for pitching six years into Dayton Moore’s tenure to reach for pitchers like Sanchez, and (b) they moved an outfielder on the basis of having young players in the system, but have kept nice guy Jeff Francoeur instead in place blocking the emergence of Will Myers. Jeff Francoeur — let’s see if I can put this in the proper saber metric terms — is a giant pile of suck. This trade is just representative of the Royals recent history. They haven’t been within ten games of first place in the division in mid-July since 2003.
[photo via US Presswire]