Monday, November 7, 2011

Good Riddance, Melky

Not much going on in the world of the White Sox today, but the Kansas City Royals did make a decent sized trade on Monday that should affect the Sox. If you haven't heard, Kansas City sent Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez.

The Royals focus this winter will be to add arms to their starting rotation, and it seems they've already found one. As far as the Royals are concerned, this is probably a good move for them to make. Melky Cabrera had a great season for Kansas City in 2010, as he finished the year with a line of .305/.339/.470 with 18 home runs and 87 RBI.

Still, that's likely going to be Cabrera's career season, and the Royals have plenty of other bats in their lineup that can make up for it. A full season of Eric Hosmer will make up a lot of it. What the Royals get in return is a pitcher that's been inconsistent and frustrating at times in his career with the Giants.

Since he became a full-time starter in 2008, Sanchez has only had one season when he finished over .500 and had an ERA under 4.00.  That came in 2010 when the Giants won the World Series and Sanchez went 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA. In his other three seasons as a starter he's 21-31 with an ERA of 4.54.

So the Royals are essentially selling high on a player to buy low on another. It's a move that can pay off big time if Sanchez gets his act together and has another year like he had in 2010, and if he doesn't, he's gone in 2012.

As for Sanchez's numbers against the White Sox, he's only faced them once. That start came in 2008 when Sanchez pitched 6.2 innings and allowed only two runs in what was a 2-0 White Sox win. Those two runs came courtesy of an Alexei Ramirez home run, the first of Alexei's career.

Where I think the White Sox really win in this deal, though, is that Cabrera is gone and off to the National League. Yes, 2010 was his best season, but Cabrera was killing the White Sox long before last season.

Here's Melky's career line: .275/.331/.398

Here's Melky's career line against the White Sox: .335/.360/.560.

His career OPS+ is 93 but it was 150 against the White Sox. The man has killed the Sox pitching staff for years, particularly Mark Buehrle who may reconsider the whole idea of going to the National League now that Cabrera will be there.

Cabrera is 17-for-27 in his career against Mark Buehrle with 2 home runs, 7 RBI and an OPS of 1.630.

So, in the end, while I think that this Sanchez move could benefit the Royals if things go well, Sanchez hasn't really done much throughout his career to make you think he'll figure things out in Kansas City where he may be in a pitcher's park, but suddenly has to deal with lineups that no longer allow pitchers to hit.

And I also think the White Sox should have a bit of a party tonight knowing that they'll no longer have to deal with Cabrera. Buehrle's buying the beer.

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