Bob Dutton is reporting that the Kansas City Royals have traded Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez and a minor league pitcher:
#Royals trade OF Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for P Jonathan Sancez and minor-league pitcher Verdugo.
This clears up speculation on why the Royals wouldn't move either of their top prospects, Will Myers and Lorenzo Cain, for Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens as rumored earlier this week. With Melky gone, that clears the way for the Royals to bring up Cain -- an immediate defensive upgrade in center field.
This also shows why Dayton Moore signed Cabrera to a relatively friendly deal with a logjam in the outfield, as he was able to sell high for Sanchez. The 29 year old Sanchez had a down season in 2011, fighting off injuries and only logging 101 innings. However, just one year earlier he maintained a 3.07 ERA and fanned 205 in 193 innings -- not a bad clip.
Cabrera is coming off one of his better seasons, too, hitting .305 / .339 / .470. He's scheduled to make $1.25M in 2012. The Royals will be adding Sanchez' 2012 salary of $4.8M, a $3.5M difference. My initial take is that this is great, relatively harmless move for Dayton Moore, adding another arm at a low cost while moving a trade-able piece to clear the way for a prospect in need of promotion.
Update: Here's the official release from the Royals, noting that Sanchez has the 3rd highest K/9 of anyone in baseball since 2006 (behind Lincecum and Kershaw).