Yesterday the San Fransisco Giants and Kansas City Royals swapped players. The Giants sent starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and minor league starter Ryan Verdugo to Kansas City for outfielder Milkey Cabrera. In short this is a meh trade for both sides. The Royals got a league average starter and the Giants got an average outfielder.
I will admit Cabrera had a solid season last year. He did post a 4.2 WAR and .349 wOBA, both career highs. Let’s take a look at what he did this past season and his career statistics.
As you can see Cabrera is having a career year all across the board. One reason that can be attributed to this was his high BABIP. it was .33 points above his career average. His high BABIP could either be due to luck or the fact that the defense was really bad. The point is Cabrera shouldn’t be nearly as good in the National League. If you think otherwise check out how he did when he was in Atlanta. This was with 509 plate appearances.
-1 WAR, .294 wOBA, 79 wRC+, .98 ISO, .288 BABIP. His BABIP was pretty close to his career .299 BABIP. Meaning that Cabrera just isn’t that good. Since he isn’t that good of a defender in the first place spacious AT&T Park shouldn’t help. For the Giants fans who think they got someone good I’m sorry to say you didn’t.
The Royals didn’t do much better themselves. Jonathan Sanchez can strike guys out. That’s pretty much it. He struck out 23% of the batters he faced, good for top 5 in baseball. After that, well it’s pretty ugly. He has a huge problem with walks, he walked 14.9% of batters he faced.
His FIP was 4.30 and his xFIP was 4.36. His FIP- and ERA- were exactly the same, 114 to be exact meaning both his FIP- and ERA- were 14% worse then league average. His .272 BABIP was slightly below his .287 BABIP but not low enough to make a huge difference. The disturbing thing was that his xFIP was much better at home on the road meaning he could struggle away from AT&T Park. His xFIP at home was 3.82 and is xFIP on the road was 4.94, over a whole run worse. That isn’t what Royals fans want to see. I recommend reading this article by Dave Cameron from Fangraphs about Sanchez’s struggles.
In the end neither team really gained anything, they each got average to below average players. The Royals did need a pitcher but Sanchez wasn’t the one they should have pursued. Like wise the Giants needed an outfielder but Melky Cabrera won’t solve that issue.