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Monday, November 07, 2011

Giants Deal Sanchez, Get Melky Cabrera

They started out a lot quicker than I was anticipating, but the Giants made their first move of the 2011/2012 offseason, trading Jonathan Sanchez to KC for outfielder Melky Cabrera.

It's a very run-of-the-mill trade and not one that has the Giants comunitty necessarily "buzzing". Never the less, one of the Giants biggest problems this season was that leadoff spot and center field, where Andres Torres failed miserably in his attempt to repeat 2010's performance. In comes Melky Cabrera, who had an all-star, break-out 2011 season that saw him hit .305 with 18 homers, 87 RBI and 20 steals, and he should immediately grab hold of one of the outfield jobs and likely the leadoff spot. What's a little concerning though, is that despite his .307 average, Cabrera only managed a .339 OBP, and he's never been a very high on base type of hitter so he's not a typical leadoff guy. Also, his defensive range suggests he's not a prototypical center fielder either. KC had him hit 2nd in the order quite a bit in 2011 and that seems to be a spot where he was most comfortable, but it's also a spot that Freddy Sanchez has all but nailed down. Therefore I don't see anywhere else for Cabrera to hit besides leadoff, where his OBP was only marginally better than Torres'. I'd like to see him hit lower, but still, even with the mediocre OBP, his strong bat should play well atop the Giants order, ahead of Sanchez, Posey and Sandoval. Also, taking into consideration what the Giants had to give up to get Cabrera, this really isn't a bad deal. Jonathan Sanchez had his moments in San Francisco, the big no-hitter in 2009, and a few solid outings in last years postseason, but I think we've all seen what Sanchez is and I don't see him changing a whole lot. He's closing in on 30, is a free agent after next season, and although he was traded while his value was low, it may never get any higher!

This will also likely bring an end to all the "will they trade Cain/Lincecum this winter" speculation. There is no way that Sabean deals two starters in one offseason with the lack of depth the Giants currently have. This also helps free up some money to help their pursuit of a middle of the order hitter. They saved themselves from having to dip into free agency for that and it probably saved them another multi-year deal to a mediocre talent like Coco Crisp. Again though, this does leave the rotation in a bit of a flux, as they appear to have their starting 5 lined up, but have little in terms of insurance behind those guys in case anything goes wrong. I see Sabean looking to the scrap heap, like he did last year with Ryan Vogelsong, in order to add some depth to the rotation. But what you need to take out of this deal, is that he got a 27 year-old all-star caliber outfielder for a pitcher whose value was falling off the map and may have been all dried up by the middle of next season. That's what gets this move a thumbs up! Worse comes to worse, they swap Torres back in and Cabrera becomes a tremendously versatile 4th outfielder. It's just too bad they didn't deal Sanchez when his value peaked, or after Vogelsong started dominating early in the summer.

And as promised, here is our first crack at how we believe the Giants' starting lineup will fill out over the remaining winter months:

2012 Lineup Prediction:

CF Melky Cabrera
2B Freddy Sanchez
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
RF Michael Cuddyer (3 year/$30M)
LF Brandon Belt
1B Aubrey Huff
SS Clint Barmes (2 year/$8.5M)
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Decent deal, but I don't think Cabrera is a good leadoff candidate. See him as a 2 or 6 hitter.

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger Trevor Cole said…

    Yeah, I don't love it, don't really hate it either.

    Part of me wishes they would have dealt him last winter, but after the postseason he had, I think it would have irked a lot of fans... Cabrera should be a little more steady version of Nate Schierholtz at the plate, just without the incredible defense. Another positive about Cabrera is his age. He easily could be a bit of a late bloomer and just now coming into his own.

  • At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    I remember they were talking about Cuddyer as a trade target.. I'd take him over Beltran cause he'll be cheaper and likely about as effective.

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