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Before you scream, "what in the world is this guy talking about?" let me state that I am fully aware that Melky Cabrera has had an uneven career so far, skewing more toward the below-average crowd than the breakout star he was last year.
However, the former Yankee, Brave and Royal produced a surprising 2011 in which he fulfilled much of the potential that some had predicted for him over the last few seasons.
He became expendable to the Yankees and they sent him to Atlanta as part of the trade that brought Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan to the Bronx prior to the 2010 season. Melky then suffered through a miserable season with the Braves before taking his talents to Kansas City for 2011.
In KC, he enjoyed a stellar season in which he finally approached the type of production that he had hinted at a few times during his time with the Yankees.
Over the course of 155 games, Melky hit .305 with 18 home runs, 87 RBI, and .809 OPS and a 121 OPS+. All were career highs, as were his 102 runs scored, 201 hits, 44 doubles and 20 stolen bases.
As a switch-hitter, he succeeded from both sides of the plate, as he hit .306 with an .818 OPS left-handed, and .304 with a .788 OPS from the right side.
Encouraging to those that may fear that his production was a product of hitting in Kansas City, Melky hit .321 on the road with an .871 OPS, compared with .289 and .742 at home. Likewise, 12 of his 18 home runs were hit on the road.
The San Francisco Giants liked his 2011 season so much that they traded talented, left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals along with minor league southpaw Ryan Verdugo in order to acquire Melky.
It's no secret, the Giants are desperate for bats, and their acquisition of Melky could potentially prove to be a masterstroke.
Sanchez had a fantastic 2010 season and helped the Giants to the World Series title that year. He struggled with injury and command issues throughout 2011 though, and became expendable to San Francisco.
With TIm Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong still in the fold, the Giants decided to take advantage of Sanchez's trade value before he became a free agent after the 2012 season.
They proved that it's difficult to win with no offense, even if you have a stellar pitching staff like the 2011 Giants did.
While it's impossible at this juncture to know which Melky Cabrera will show up for the Giants, it was similarly difficult to know which Jonathan Sanchez would emerge in 2012, the budding young ace he looked like in 2011, or the Oliver Perez-like, erratic lefty he has been at times over his career.
Out of necessity, the Giants opted to gamble on Melky's upside, rather than that of Sanchez, and I feel that this could turn out to be an under-appreciated move that will greatly impact the 2012 season in San Francisco.