Tag:Royals
Posted on: November 19, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Arizona Fall League wraps up season

Nolan ArenadoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Salt River Rafters wrapped up the Arizona Fall League season with an 9-3 victory over the Surprise Saguaros on Saturday, and with it came a flurry of awards.

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado (pictured) won the league's Most Valuable Player Award. The 20-year old, playing for the Rafters, hit safely in 27 of his 30 games, including a 2-for-4 performance with a solo homer in Saturday's championship game. Arrando led the minor leagues with 122 RBI at High-A Modesto in 2011.

Miami outfielder Kevin Mattison won the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. Mattison tied for the league lead in triples (five) and second in runs scored (29). Mattison was added to the Marlins' 40-man roster on Friday.

Arenado and Mattison were also members of the league's Top Prospects Team.

The entire team:

Outfield

Bryce Harper (Nationals): .333/.400/.636, 6 HR, 26 RBI

Michael Choice (Athletics): .318/.423/.667, 6 HR, 18 RBI

Robbie Grossman (Pirates): .375/.472/625, 7 HR, 22 RBI

Kevin Mattison (Marlins): .349/.433/.624, 6 HR, 23 RBI

Adam Eaton (Diamondbacks): .344/.410/.475, 2 HR, 16 RBI

Wil Myers (Royals): .360/.481/.674, 4 HR, 18 RBI

Third base

Nolan Arenado (Rockies): .388/.423/.636, 6 HR, 33 RBI

Mike Olt (Rangers): .349/.433/.764, 13 HR 43 RBI

Shortstop

Junior Lake (Cubs): .296/.352/.548, 5 HR, 21 RBI

Brandon Crawford (Giants): .276/.315/.414, 2 HR, 12 RBI

Second base

Joe Panik (Giants): .323/.394/.473, 2 HR, 13 RBI

Brian Dozier (Twins): .296/..358/.454, 3 HR, 22 RBI

First base

Joe Terdoslavich (Braves): .321/.424/.548, 3 HR, 14 RBI

Matt Adams (Cardinals): .250/.258/.475, 4 HR, 19 RBI

Catcher

Christian Bethancourt (Braves): .306/.324/.556, 5 HR, 13 RBI

Derek Norris (Nationals): .276/.367/.382, 2 HR, 11 RBI

Designated hitter

Jedd Gyorko (Padres): .437/.500/.704, 5 HR, 22 RBI

Josh Vitters (Cubs): .360/.383/.540, 4 HR, 17 RBI

Starting pitchers

Danny Hultzen (Mariners): 1-0, 1.40 ERA, 19.1 IP, 18 SO, 5 BB

Terry Doyle (White Sox): 4-0, 1.98 ERA, 27.1 IP, 22 SO, 5 BB

Relievers

Brad Boxberger (Reds): 3 saves, 5.40 ERA, 13.1 IP, 22 SO, 6 BB

Jacob Diekman (Phillies): 2 saves, 0.79 ERA, 11.1 IP, 14 SO, 6 BB

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 1:04 pm
 

Report: Diamondbacks, Royals interested in Oswalt

Oswalt

By Evan Brunell


Roy Oswalt appears to be a popular man.

Oswalt's agent, Bob Garber, is expected to meet with the Royals to discuss the righty on Tuesday or Wednesday, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes.

But Oswalt will have competition. The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro says the Diamondbacks are interested in Oswalt. Add in the Nationals and Phillies, who displayed prior interest, and the market is heating up for Oswalt. It would come as no surprise if other teams were in the hunt or eventually entered it.

The 34-year-old made 23 starts this past season, checking in with a 3.69 ERA for the Phillies. He missed time due to back problems and has also considered retirement, so he won't be looking for a long-term deal. He'll have to compromise on whatever deal he gets, though. Teams aren't going to guarantee tens of millions of dollars to Oswalt, not after his back problem was a significant problem in 2011. In addition, Oswalt isn't the same pitcher he once was. He's no longer an ace and better fits in as the No. 2 or 3 starter on a staff. Any deal will likely be incentive-laden, giving Oswalt money based on his ability to stay on the field.

The Royals are aggressive this winter in looking for pitching, already trading for Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. But the team needs more, and Oswalt would be a solid veteran presence. But is he really interested in playing for the Royals, who aren't thought to be contenders in 2012? While the future is bright in K.C., it's still far enough in the future that Oswalt may prefer a team closer to contending. Of the other teams to display interest, the Diamondbacks more closely fit that profille -- but can 'Zona pony up the dollars to sign Oswalt?

While Oswalt's market is heating up, don't expect a resolution anytime soon. Oswalt's better served by waiting things out as its likely his market would only improve. Teams such as the Red Sox, Rangers and Yankees could jump in the fray at any moment, and would certainly look into Oswalt should they strike out on their top pitching targets.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:07 am
 

Lorenzo Cain ready for his shot

By Matt Snyder

Though there seems to be some amount of stigma attached to Melky Cabrera's name, it cannot be disputed the Royals traded away a player who was pretty good in 2011. Cabrera, 27, hit .305/.339/.470 with 18 homers, 87 RBI, 102 runs and 20 stolen bases for the Royals last season. That's a good year. His 2.9 bWAR and 4.2 fWAR say he was a very good regular player. So considering he's not old and the Royals feel like they're close to competing, they better have a regular ready to take over. And they do, in Lorenzo Cain, and he says he's ready.

“It was definitely good news when I heard we traded Melky,” said Cain (Kansas City Star). “I’m glad I’ve got a chance now to go out and roam center field. Hopefully, I can go out there and get it done."

“This is what everyone wants — a chance to go out and play every day and prove what you have. I’ve got my chance now, and we’ll just see what happens.” (Kansas City Star)

He's right that he'll get his chance, too.

“I hated to give up Melky,” general manager Dayton Moore said (Kansas City Star), “but this move, in our mind, balances out our team better. We’ve got to give Cain a chance to play. We’ve got to find out (about him)."

Cain's been in the minors for seven seasons, appearing in 712 minor-league games. Last season, his first for Triple-A Omaha, he hit .312/.380/.497 with 16 homers, 81 RBI, 84 runs and 16 steals in 128 games. He also had 13 outfield assists from center field. He'll turn 26 a week into the 2011 season, so now is certainly the time.

Cain has had a bit of time in the majors. In fact, he was pretty good for the 2010 Brewers in limited action, hitting .306 with 11 doubles, seven stolen bases and a .763 OPS in 158 plate appearances (his 147 at-bats mean he's not a rookie in 2012, by the way).

Simply, if Cain plays the way it appears he can, he won't even be a step backward from Cabrera and the trade will virtually be like adding Jonathan Sanchez to the team. He's ready for the shot and the Royals are ready to give it to him, so now it's up to Cain to perform.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:58 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Royals interested in Carlos Zambrano?

By Matt Snyder

Mercurial starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano's 2011 season ended August 12 when he departed the Cubs' locker room early and told some people he was retiring. The fallout: The Cubs basically suspended him for the season and are now likely ready to part ways with him for pretty much anything in return. But he does have talent, despite a ridiculously high salary (he's due $19 million in 2012), so it shouldn't come as a surprise that some general managers believe he may be worth the risk. Count Royals' GM Dayton Moore as one of them.

"We would have to be interested. We would have to explore it because that's what you should do. You should explore every opportunity. Carlos Zambrano is a heckuva competitor," said Moore (CSNChicago.com). "Carlos Zambrano has had a lot of success in the major leagues. Carlos Zambrano is actually a very pleasant, easy going, classy person off the field. Sometimes, as with all of us the competitiveness takes over and brings out qualities in us that we are not proud of. Obviously the Cubs grew tired of some of his outbursts but I believe in our coaching staff and we'll always take a chance and a risk on certain players. We'll see how that particular situation unfolds."

Hot Stove Season
Zambrano, 30, is a three-time All-Star who has thrice finished fifth in Cy Young voting. Only one season in his career was his ERA below league average -- of course, it was 2011 -- and his career 125-81 record is certainly appealing to those who go with the "a pitcher's job is to win" mantra. But his constant emotional meltdowns teamed with a noticeable regression in nearly every stat category and a high price tag have destroyed his value.

Moore also pointed out that Zambrano's contract would be an issue, but the Cubs have made no secret about the fact that they could eat some of the money to rid themselves of Zambrano. We do know the Royals are seeking starting pitching, and probably aren't content with simply trading for Jonathan Sanchez.

Basically, this could be a match, it's just a matter of hammering out a deal. Whether or not it ever comes to fruition remains to be seen.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Monday trade sets stage for busy Hot Stove season



By Matt Snyder


Sure, Derek Lowe was dealt to the Indians in a salary dump and we've seen a few signings, but things have been pretty slow of late in Major League Baseball news. When the biggest name to sign a contract with a new team thus far is a backup first baseman/pinch-hitter (Jim Thome), it says everything you need to know about this past week in actual transactions. So forgive us for loving Melky Cabrera and Jonathan Sanchez swapping addresses. It's something, and it serves as a nice little unofficial start to the Hot Stove season.

With just one week to the general manager meetings in Milwaukee, it's time to focus on other potential trade candidates. Obviously rumors don't always come to fruition and we're shocked with non-rumored trades going down on occasion, but here are some names that either make sense or have been rumored to be on the move in the recent past.

• The White Sox's farm system is in absolute shambles and the major-league club doesn't appear ready to compete with the Tigers any time soon, so it's possible general manager Kenny Williams decides to rebuild. Since Adam Dunn and Alex Rios have no trade value, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin would be the parts most likely to move.

Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is a free agent after the 2012 season and he could be a helpful four or five starter for a contender. He's thrown at least 190 innings in each of the past four seasons.

Hot Stove Season
• Do new Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer look to cut the sunk costs of Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano? They'd have to eat a significant portion of the remaining salaries (and for Soriano it's $54 million left on the deal), but the duo isn't helping the Cubs win in 2012. Also, Marlon Byrd only has one year left on his contract and prospect Brett Jackson will likely be ready to take over in center soon. The guess is Byrd has more value by the trade deadline in '12, though.

Rays center fielder B.J. Upton has long been rumored to be a trade candidate, and this winter it might finally happen with Desmond Jennings clearly ready to take over in center. Also, if the Rays are ready to deal a starting pitcher, Jeff Niemann is most likely.

Denard Span was rumored to be a trade candidate back in July, and the Twins could part with their center fielder to shore up the pitching staff.

We've already heard the rumors about Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado from Atlanta, but it's possible since talks fizzled with the Royals that the Braves just hold both.

• Do the Angels try to shed Alberto Callaspo and/or Maicer Izturis and then land free agent Aramis Ramirez at third? They probably would need to shed more payroll in order to do so.

• Starting pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers could easily be on the move from Houston, but the guess is the ownership situation would need to be resolved first.

• After a disappointing 2011 season, the Rockies have plenty of trade candidates. Chris Iannetta probably stays put, but Huston Street, Ian Stewart, Seth Smith and Ty Wigginton all make sense in potential deals.

Dodgers first baseman James Loney finished 2011 with a bang, which might mean it's the Dodgers last chance to get something of value in return for him. There are a few small-market matches, too, including the Indians.

• Finally, as we've already noted, the A's have put basically the entire team on the block.

So fasten your seatbelts, the action has only just begun.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Trade will help Giants, Royals in free agency

Reyes

By Evan Brunell


Both the Giants and Royals addressed areas of need in a swap that sent Melky Cabrera to San Francisco in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez. And, on the surface, the deal will also allow both sides to strengthen their ability to sign high-ticket free agents. Though inside sources say the Giants may not have as much financial clout as it appears.

Now that San Francisco has brought in Cabrera, the club has crossed off one item on their to-do list and cleared up a logjam in the rotation. While the Giants may still yet pursue additional outfield help, it has more money to work with to address the club's most glaring need: shortstop. The position was a black hole last season, and with no semblance of help arriving soon from the minors, the club has to play in free agency for a shortstop. It's uncertain, though, as to whether they could pick up the price tag of a Jose Reyes (pictured), Jimmy Rollins or even a Rafael Furcal.

It's simple economics. The Giants' three top priorities this offseason was to find two outfielders and a shortstop. Now they've found one outfielder without bumping their payroll up. Instead of having a certain amount of dollars to spread among three areas of need, now it's between two areas of need. And, on the bright side, the Giants will be freed from the expiring contracts of Aubrey Huff (free agent after 2012), Aaron Rowand (who has already been released, but is still due $13.6 million in 2012) and Barry Zito (done after 2013 with a $7 million buyout in 2014).


Hot Stove Season
The Royals also benefit from this deal, but in a different way. If Kansas City wants to be taken seriously by free agents, it has to show a commitment to improving the club. While the club did delete Cabrera from the team, they opened up center field for prospect Lorenzo Cain, who was part of the Zack Greinke trade prior to the 2011 season. Where the major improvement comes is in the rotation, which had the fourth-worst rotation in baseball last season with zero upside. When Luke Hochevar starts on Opening Day, there's a problem.

Sanchez's arrival will deepen the rotation, which you can bet free agents will notice. C.J. Wilson may be one such person, who will attract attention from many teams as one of the top starters on the market. Kansas City is expected to be involved, and the acquisition of Sanchez should help Wilson be more confident in the direction the Royals are taking. Wilson can look ahead at the incoming crop of elite pitching prospects and see the potential for a deep, devastating rotation. The Royals can also entice Wilson or another pitcher to town by contending that the acquisitions of two starters will allow the team to trade some of its minor-league pitching talent to further bolster the club, which GM Dayton Moore has alluded to be working toward.

Incidentially, my free-agency predictions had Reyes to the Giants and Wilson to the Royals. After this trade, these predictions are looking more and more realistic.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Giants, Royals exchange risky players in deal

Sanchez

By Evan Brunell


The Royals have acquired starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and a minor-league prospect from the Giants in exchange for Melky Cabrera, the first trade of baseball's hot stove season.

This deal is a major risk for the Giants that could either pay off beautifully or crash and burn, while the Royals capitalize on a player's high-water value and land a coveted mid-rotation starter who could one day suddenly figure things out and morph into an ace. Put simply: San Francisco is buying high on Cabrera and selling low on Sanchez. (Read more on how this trade affects free agency.)

San Francisco has made no secret of the fact they covet a center fielder who can lead off for the club, and Cabrera certainly fits that mold. He enjoyed a career season for Kansas City, playing much of the year at age 26 and hitting .305/.339/.470 with 67 extra-base hits, also swiping 20 bases. But is Cabrera's season really as good as it appears?

Hot Stove Season
While those 20 stolen bases look nice, he was also caught stealing 10 times. For stolen bases to provide overall net value to a team, Cabrera needs to swipe bags at a rate of at least 75 percent. He hasn't shown that ability yet, as this is the first season he's been let loose on the bases. In addition, the Melk Man has never had a discerning eye at the plate, but he was far more aggressive in 2011 than years past. One could argue that it paid off, and it did to an extent, but much of his newfound impatience has come in swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone. Unless you're Vladimir Guerrero, swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone is a good way to get yourself out. Pitchers will pitch further and further off the plate to Cabrera until eventually Cabrera will be get himself out for hacking at pitches that aren't meant to be hittable.

Cabrera made just $1.25 million in 2011 and is due a sizable raise in his last season before free agency, projected to earn about $4.4 million (per MLB Trade Rumors). That makes the deal essentially a financial wash, as Sanchez made $4.8 million last season and is due a raise of his own, but not a significant one. Cabrera is best used in right field, but could play center if San Francisco is confident in his defense, freeing up more money for San Francisco to spend for a shortstop and possibly another outfielder. The Giants could also elect to bring in another starting pitcher, but Sanchez actually clears up a logjam in the rotation. S.F. can now move forward with a quintet of Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain and Barry Zito.

Only time will tell just how good Cabrera is, but it was an inspired choice by GM Brian Sabean to deal someone the club had soured on and address a glaring need in the outfield. But it's still a risk, and Kansas City's risk is much less because while Cabrera's at his high-water mark, Sanchez is being dealt at perhaps his lowest value.

Sanchez is a fireballer who can stand toe to toe with the best in striking out batters, but he also has erratic command. He served up walks in 14.9 percent of all plate appearances this past season, up from 2010's 11.8 percent. Sanchez is never going to be considered a control wizard, but injury may have been to blame for the spike in walks instead of a simple regression. In June he walked an eye-popping 20.5 percent of batters in June that skewed his season numbers, then promptly spent six weeks on the DL with biceps tendinitis.

These two things appear related, especially since Sanchez's control in the other months were within career norms. Unfortunately, even if Sanchez bounces back to career norms in walks, he still issues too many free passes to be an innings eater, but the Royals will gladly take a 28-year-old fireballing lefty in the middle of the rotation and take 190 innings over 32 starts.

The Royals have been seeking veteran starters to slot in the rotation as they attempt to gain relevancy. It's the right time for the club to start making a push, and the rotation was an obvious need. Sanchez is best used as a No. 3 or 4 starter, but the club's rotation is so poor that right now, Sanchez has to be considered the favorite to start Opening Day. Kansas City did very, very well here to get a legitimate starter in exchange for someone who hightailed it out of Atlanta as one of the more despised players in recent Braves history. The deal also opens up center field for Lorenzo Cain, who came over from Milwaukee prior to 2011 in the Zack Greinke deal.

Sanchez is coming to K.C. with 24-year-old Ryan Verdugo, who posted a 4.35 ERA in 25 starts for Double-A. It was Verdugo's first season as a starter in the minors, and put up remarkably similar numbers to Sanchez. He's someone who can punch out batters, but who also offers up a bit too many free passes. He figures to serve as rotation depth in Triple-A, although his future may be in the bullpen as a setup man. GM Dayton Moore said that the club views the lefty as an eventual reliever.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com