Hot stove this early? Evidently, yes, because the San Francisco Giants traded Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals for Melky Cabrera on Monday.
In fact, Giants GM Brian Sabean may have managed to force a wry smile after hearing that the Royals actually wanted to take Sanchez off their hands.
Sanchez used to joke that he has been traded five or six times now, and I am sure Sabean & Co. may have preferred it that way with all the heartache that went into these last few seasons with the lefty.
Finally, albeit at an unorthodox time, the Royals bit, the Giants jumped and a deal was done.
The Royals acquired pitcher to help their struggling starting rotation, and maybe much more, and the Giants get their .300 average lead-off hitter that can play CF who is realistically heading into the prime of his career.
Can or should anyone be mad at the Giants trading away Sanchez?
Sure. Sabean should have dangled him over the trading block back in 2009 after his no-hitter against the Padres at a time when his stock was at its highest.
Maybe then San Francisco thought too highly of him. Trade proposals were coming in, I am sure, but who knew about their starring rotation back then?
Now with Ryan Vogelsong and pitching coach that can seemingly turn nothing into something, suddenly Sanchez is available. And suddenly the Giants are settling for Melky Cabrera.
Realistically, next to Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the free agent market was nothing to look at. Especially with the potential to attempt to lock-up Lincecum and Cain, there was less than a chance the Giants would overpay for either of those bats.
In that sense, Cabrera was a decent catch in a weary free agent market. The Giants just had to give up their most attractive available arm.
The truth is that Sanchez was always a tease. He was someone with so much potential, yet had so many mental blocks it was going to be impossible to get him to play up to that potential.
Cabrera, on the other hand, is just about the exact player they wanted, needed and could dream of this offseason. He hits like Freddy Sanchez, plays centerfield (the position the Giants needed) and is available to bat lead-off.
Sabean did all that while managing to not break the bank on the act of going after Carlos Beltran.
How he managed to acquire a player coming off a career year in exchange for a pitcher that will never live up to the hype, I do not know.