Sanchez, 28, may have been a non-tender candidate for the Giants after a disappointing 2011 season that saw him walk 5.9 per nine innings and miss significant time with biceps tendinitis and a sprained ankle. The southpaw is tough to hit and has big-time strikeout numbers, but control has always been a problem. In Sanchez, Felipe Paulino, and Danny Duffy, Royals GM Dayton Moore has strong strikeout potential for three-fifths of his 2012 rotation. Sanchez projects to earn $5.2MM in 2012, after which he'll be eligible for free agency. That he was traded for one year of Cabrera shows how much his trade value slipped during the '11 season. Sanchez was set to battle Barry Zito for the Giants' fifth starter job next year.
Cabrera had the opposite experience in 2011, as he had a resurgence after being non-tendered and signing a $1.25MM free agent deal. The 27-year-old hit .305/.339/.470 with 18 home runs in 706 plate appearances for the Royals, playing mostly center field. UZR suggests he is a below-average defender there, though there seems a good chance the Giants continue to use him in center. If so, Andres Torres could become expendable. Cabrera is projected to earn $4.4MM in 2012, after which he'll be eligible for free agency. With the deal, the Royals opened up center field for prospect Lorenzo Cain.
Verdugo, a 24-year-old Double-A southpaw, went to Kansas City along with Sanchez in the deal. Baseball America ranked him 25th among Giants prospects prior to the season, describing him as a deceptive lefty who misses bats but has minus command. Verdugo was a starter in college and returned to that role last year.