Colorado Rockies

Jonathan Sanchez trade solidifies Sabean's victory in Melky swap

Jonathan Sanchez has not had a good year in Kansas City. Jeremy Guthrie hasn’t been any better in Colorado, so in a typical “why the hell not” move the two are trading places (although the Rockies seem to be the winners in the financial department saving a little over a million bucks).

The man who threw a no-hitter not two years ago at AT&T Park is currently sporting a 1-6 record with a 7.76 ERA. Most strikingly, Sanchez is averaging 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings and an awful 7.4 walks per nine.

Sanchez has always been wild, and even effectively wild at times. But from 2008-2011, when Sanchez was regularly in the starting rotation for San Francisco, he put up a respectable 4.08 ERA, a 1.357 WHIP, and a much better 9.4 SO/9 and 4.7 BB/9. That’s a big difference. The change in free passes demonstrates that his success with the Giants wasn’t just due to a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Perhaps this is another time where Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner do not get enough credit for the amazing pitching in San Francisco over the last few years. Righetti seemed to have a way of calming Sanchez down when he started walking people, and those mound visits were often crucial in Sanchez’s starts.

In any case, the Giants brass deemed Sanchez an acceptable loss last offseason when he was dealt to the Royals for current Giants All-Star Melky Cabrera.

The Melk Man put together a strong season with the Royals in 2011 with a .305 batting average, 18 homers and a WAR of 4.1. Currently, Cabrera is leading the league in hits (128) and sports a WAR of 3.9 in a Giants uniform. Despite some worries that Cabrera could not hit in the National League after an abysmal 2010 with Atlanta, he has put those worries to rest thus far in 2012.

The Giants have had their fair share of bad trades historically (Orlando Cepeda for Ray Sadecki) and under Sabean (A.J. Piezynski for Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan), but this one seems to be a clear-cut winner for San Francisco and probably the most one-sided trade this season.

At the time of the trade, it seemed like a fair one if both players were as good as they were in 2011. San Francisco needed help in the outfield after losing most notably Carlos Beltran and Cody Ross (who are both having really good seasons in other uniforms, by the way) and the Royals needed a starting pitcher to help support the young, talented offense. Obviously it didn’t work out that way as Cabrera greatly improved upon his career year in 2011.

Although Sabean has made some questionable moves in the past, this one may be his best and has worked out well for the Giants.

The earliest the Giants could see Sanchez in a Rockies uniform is August 3rd when San Francisco heads to Colorado for a three-game set.

It will certainly be intriguing to watch if Sanchez can have success in the NL West again, particularly against the Giants and at Coors, where he is 4-3 with a 4.76 ERA in 12 games, eight of which were starts.

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