The trade -- outfielder Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez and minor league lefty Ryan Verdugo -- seemingly made sense for the Kansas City Royals when it was announced last Nov. 7.
Sure, Cabrera was coming off a career year in which he batted .305 with 44 doubles and 201 hits. However, the Royals needed starting pitching, and Sanchez had thrown a no-hitter in 2009, then gone 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 2010, pitching in the World Series that October before slumping slightly in 2011.
"Based on all the information we had at the time and where we were economically and what we needed to do going forward in opening up an opportunity for Lorenzo Cain to play every day, it was the right baseball move for our team," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Tuesday. "We were a better team on balance and on paper when we made that deal."
After Tuesday, the trade officially can be ruled a train wreck. Sanchez was designated for assignment after going 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts. He allowed 67 hits, walked 44 and hit five batters in 53 1/3 innings.
Cabrera, meanwhile, was named the All-Star Game MVP last week. He is hitting .353 for the Giants.
After Sanchez yielded five runs before he logged an out and seven runs overall in 1 1/3 innings in a loss Monday night to the Mariners, the Royals designated the 29-year-old left-hander for assignment.
"It's just one of those things that didn't work out," Moore said. "We just felt change was necessary at this point and time. Everybody was talking about what Jonathan's role would be going forward. We felt right before the All-Star break he was throwing the ball much better. (Monday) we actually thought he turned the ball loose as good as he has, but the results weren't very good. It was just outing to outing. We kept evaluating it. We thought change is required at this point and time."
The Royals will likely have to eat the remainder of Sanchez's $5.6 million contract for this season.
"It's still there with Jonathan," manager Ned Yost said. "He's still got the stuff to be successful. For whatever reason, he just wasn't successful here. It just got to a point we needed to regroup for us and for him."
Sanchez was replaced in the rotation by Verdugo, who was recalled from Class AAA Omaha, where he was 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA in 18 games (15 starts). He took the loss Tuesday in his major league debut, allowing six runs in 1 2/3 innings during the Royals' 9-6 defeat against the Seattle Mariners.