Jonathan Sanchez sent packing by Royals, sealing honors for worst trade of offseason

David Brown
Big League Stew

A week ago, the Kansas City Royals threw open the doors to beautiful Kauffman Stadium for the All-Star game. In doing so, they also welcomed back a prominent former Royals player, Melky Cabrera of the Giants, who happened to be leading the NL in batting average.

And, wouldn't you know it? Cabrera continued to remind the Royals of what they've been missing by winning the game's MVP (while wearing bright orange shoes — as if he wasn't already attracting enough attention).

Adding insult to injury, the Royals decided on Tuesday to cut their losses with the main bait the Giants used to acquire Cabrera, left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. Reporter Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweeted that the Royals have designated him for assignment, virtually closing the door on the worst trade of last offseason.

The Royals didn't see this coming, of course, nor did a lot of people around baseball. Just three seasons ago, Sanchez threw a no-hitter for the Giants. And in 2010, he struck out 11 in his first playoff appearance and tagged along as San Francisco won its first World Series.

But there always was something amiss with Sanchez, who has never thrown enough strikes to dominate frequently. Once he showed up with the Royals, he was just bad:

Sanchez had a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts with 44 walks and 36 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings, allowing more than two baserunners per frame. The Royals have 10 days to trade Sanchez, release him or send him to the minor leagues if he passes through waivers unclaimed by the rest of the league (if Sanchez agrees). They also received pitcher Ryan Verdugo in the San Francisco trade, but the sacking of Sanchez puts the ugly bow on top of the bad gift that was the Cabrera deal.

Sanchez's failure (and Cabrera's success) will help define the tenure of Royals GM Dayton Moore, unless he makes a couple of major corrections to the pitching staff by next season. Getting rid of Cabrera was a mistake. Doing so for Sanchez compounded the error. Now what?

KC's All-Star ballpark might be the gem of the franchise, but the team's roster — particularly the starting pitchers — still leaves much room for improvement.

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