The Royals and Rockies this off-season were both looking for starting pitching help. Unfortunately for both teams, they looked in the wrong places. The Royals dealt Melky Cabrera to the Giants in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez. Cabrera has gone on to win this year’s All-Star Game MVP. While Sanchez is 1-6, with a 7.76 ERA. The Rockies were looking for a top of the rotation starter. Colorado thought they were getting one in Jeremy Guthrie, but it turns out the player they gave away (Jason Hammel) was the ace in-the-making.
Both of those trades get failing grades, but what happens when Sanchez and Guthrie are traded for each other?
Guthrie’s main problem may have been adjusting to Coors Field. He had a dismal 9.51 ERA in the mile-high air of Denver, mainly because of 14 home runs allowed in 41.2 innings. On the road, Guthrie had a manageable 3.67 ERA and 7 home runs allowed in 49 innings. The change of scenery and a return to the American League might just be what Guthrie needs.
A return to the N.L. West might also be what the doctor ordered for Sanchez. Sanchez career numbers also aren’t great at Coors Field (4.76 ERA in 51 IP), but it’s an upgrade over what Guthrie had been providing. The Rockies will need to work with Sanchez on his control issues. He never had great command in his career, but his 7.4 BB/9 ratio is by far the worst in his career. Sanchez was able to get away with it in prior years by striking people out, but even that dropped to a career-low 6.1 K/9 (his career average is 9.1) Sanchez has gone from a potential ace after the 2010 season (3.07 ERA, 205 K, NL leading 6.6 H/9) to a complete reclamation project. The Rockies are saving $1.1 million in this deal.
So who wins this trade between the Royals and the Rockies?
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)