Suddenly the Royals’ lack of interest in signing Melky Cabrera to a contract extension makes even more sense, as Kansas City has traded the outfielder to San Francisco for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez and pitching prospect Ryan Verdugo.
Cabrera is coming off a career-year and the Giants can certainly use lineup help, but he hit just .260 with a .319 on-base percentage and .372 slugging percentage during the previous three seasons. He’s in his prime at age 28, but Cabrera is also a prime candidate to regress significantly in 2012 and will be a free agent next offseason.
Sanchez is the opposite story, as he struggled this season after a strong 2010 that saw him throw 193 innings with a 3.07 ERA and 205 strikeouts. He also walked a league-high 96 batters even while faring well overall and this year Sanchez posted a 4.26 ERA with 66 walks in 103 innings. Verdugo is a marginal prospect, so this is pretty close to a one-for-one swap and I like the move more for the Royals.
They’re stacked with young position players and need rotation help, so buying low on Sanchez is smart and as a 28-year-old with a 4.27 ERA and 669 strikeouts in 646 innings as a starter he still has plenty of upside if they can get him to throw strikes. And if not he might be a late-inning bullpen option. Cabrera is a solid all-around player and was much more valuable than Sanchez in 2011, but the Giants are buying high on someone who’s more often than not been fourth outfielder-quality.
This move also opens the door for Lorenzo Cain as the Royals’ starting center fielder, assuming they don’t rekindle those trade talks with the Braves for Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado.
The Padres turned out in remarkable fashion on Saturday, following up on Friday’s 6-3 win with a decisive 19-run effort to take the series from the Blue Jays. Rookie right-hander Cal Quantrill spun six strong innings, holding Toronto to three runs and striking out nine of 22 batters, but it was the Padres’ offense that really sealed the deal.
Of the 19 runs they put up, seven landed for home runs — establishing a franchise-best record for most home runs amassed during a single game.
Wil Myers and Ian Kinsler went back-to-back for the first two homers, each coming off of an Edwin Jackson pitch in the second inning. Myers’ 351-foot blast was his eighth of the season, while Kinsler’s 382-footer marked his sixth so far this spring. Two innings later, in the fourth, Jackson once again set the table for Austin Hedges, who promptly went yard with the first grand slam of his five-year career in the majors and boosted the Padres to a six-run advantage.
The home runs came for the Blue Jays, too — Lourdes Gurriel Jr. plucked one from a bouquet of sliders in the second, while Justin Smoak collected his ninth homer on a first-pitch fastball in the fourth — but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with the Padres. In the sixth, Hunter Renfroe took his turn against Derek Law and punched a two-run shot out to center field. He returned in the eighth for a second helping, sandwiching another 376-foot home run in between a solo homer from Eric Hosmer and a two-RBI knock from Myers, too.
By the time the dust settled, the Padres had gathered 19 runs on 20 hits. They finished the game just one run shy of tying their single-game record for runs scored, a feat no Padres’ lineup has replicated since their 20-7 rout of the Expos on May 19, 2001.