CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (11/07)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: BP Game... (10/29)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Managin... (11/15)
Next Article >>
Baseball ProGUESTus: G... (11/08)

November 8, 2011

BP Unfiltered

Now in the Newsletter, the BP Daily Rathman

by Daniel Rathman

Looking for something to read with your morning coffee? Check out The Daily Rathman in the Baseball Prospectus newsletter each weekday. There, you'll find my take on pertinent baseball news, a rant about my sleepless college life, or something in between. For those readers who haven't subscribed to the newsletter, here is today's entry:

THE BP DAILY RATHMAN
When I first saw the tweets saying that the Giants had traded Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Verdugo to the Royals for Melky Cabrera flash across my laptop screen, I could not formulate a snap judgment on the deal. With most trades, my gut instinct is either love or hate; with this one, it was both.

Sure, the Giants were selling Sanchez at his valley and buying Cabrera at his peak, but not long ago Sanchez—set to earn roughly $6 million in arbitration—was considered a possible non-tender candidate as GM Brian Sabean looked for money to improve his offense. Sure, the Giants were picking up a center fielder who can't really play center, and a No. 2 hitter who really should hit sixth or seventh, but maybe they were planning to use Melky in a corner and bat him closer to the bottom of the order.

Just leave it to the Giants to turn a potentially good trade into a bad one. Bruce Bochy indicated immediately afterward that he was comfortable with Cabrera, who graded out well below average by virtually any defensive metric, in center. He later said that Melky was likely to hit near the top of the lineup, in part because, "He crosses home plate and that's a need here." Well, so do the kids who stay at AT&T Park to run the bases after Sunday home games, and it doesn't take your No. 4 starter to acquire them.

From the Royals' perspective, Monday's trade is understandable. They have a promising replacement for Cabrera in Lorenzo Cain, and need to gamble on high-upside pitchers until their own prospects are ready. Moreover, if Sanchez shows signs of regaining his fastball velocity and control, the Royals will be able to deal him for something of value next summer.

From the Giants' perspective, it's confusing, to say the least. Factoring in defense, Cabrera may not be an upgrade over Andres Torres in center or Nate Schierholtz in right. The $2 million or so that the Giants saved in salary may need to be used on a rotation replacement for Sanchez—rather than toward another bat for the lineup—if the Giants don't have faith in Barry Zito. Beat writer Andrew Baggarly tweeted after the deal that the Giants may now use Brandon Crawford as their everyday shortstop, having, in their view, upgraded the offense in the outfield.

To recap, the Giants are banking on a breakout unsupported by peripherals—Cabrera's BABIP rose without an increase in line-drive rate, and his walk rate actually plummeted—to compensate for vastly worsened outfield defense, decreased rotation depth, and an all-pick, no-stick solution at shortstop.

With only the tweets and my raw thoughts to go on, I didn't have a strong opinion on the deal. Now that Bochy and Sabean have spoken, I hate it more than Dodger blue. At least the Royals have a process. All the Giants have is processed Melk.

For a little background on my rumblings, you should know that I'm an unabashed Giants fan, and currently a senior at Tufts University, where the best sports team may well be muggle quidditch. Any grumpiness you detect can be attributed to the awful Boston weather.

Finally, if you have a comment about something I wrote, please feel free to pass it along to me at drathman@baseballprospectus.com, and I'd be glad to see your thoughts or start up a discussion. Thanks for reading. 

Daniel Rathman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Daniel's other articles. You can contact Daniel by clicking here

Related Content:  Melky Cabrera,  Giants Outfield

9 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (11/07)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: BP Game... (10/29)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: Managin... (11/15)
Next Article >>
Baseball ProGUESTus: G... (11/08)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, July ...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, July 9
Premium Article What You Need to Know: The Tigers' Roaring C...
The Lineup Card: Eight Second-Half Decline C...
Premium Article Skewed Left: What the CBA Says About the All...
Pitcher Profile: Jake Arrieta
Premium Article The Call-Up: Arismendy Alcantara

MORE FROM NOVEMBER 8, 2011
Premium Article The BP Broadside: Tumbling in the Twin Citie...
Premium Article On the Beat: The 2011 All-MLB Team
Baseball ProGUESTus: Getting Explicit with S...
The BP Wayback Machine: When Good GMs Go Bad

MORE BY DANIEL RATHMAN
2011-11-30 - The BP First Take: Wednesday, November 30
2011-11-29 - The BP First Take: Tuesday, November 29
2011-11-28 - The BP First Take: Monday, November 28
2011-11-08 - BP Unfiltered: Now in the Newsletter, the BP...
2011-10-07 - Premium Article Prospectus Playoff Quickie: Enter Tatman
2011-09-29 - The Prospectus Hit List: Daily Hit List for ...
2011-09-28 - The Prospectus Hit List: Daily Hit List for ...
More...

MORE BP UNFILTERED
2011-11-28 - BP Unfiltered: Talkin' Cooperstown on Clubho...
2011-11-15 - BP Unfiltered: Want to Work in Baseball?
2011-11-15 - BP Unfiltered: Managing New Stats
2011-11-08 - BP Unfiltered: Now in the Newsletter, the BP...
2011-10-29 - BP Unfiltered: BP Game 7 Roundtable HERE
2011-10-28 - BP Unfiltered: Lowe's Changeup to Freese
2011-10-25 - BP Unfiltered: Some Unsolicited Advice for t...
More...