Cantu Traded to Giants?

There is a rumor floating around that the next piece to be shipped out of Miami is Jorge Cantu and he may be heading to San Francisco as the Giants are looking to improve their horrid offense from last season.

The target? Jonathan Sanchez, the 26 year old starter who went 9-15 last season with a 5.01 ERA. Sanchez shows good strike out ability, K’ing 157 batters in 158.0 IP. Yet he had a WHIP of 1.45 and a .257 BAA in his first full season as a starter (garnering 29 starts).

Still, how would this deal work out for the Marlins? I am leaning in favor of it for one simple reason – value. And Jose Castillo.

You all remember Jose Castillo, right? He was brought into spring training with the Marlins last season to contend for the vacant 3B spot, left so by the Miguel Cabrera trade. Well, Jorge Cantu won the starting job and that meant that Dallas McPherson went down to the minors and Jose Castillo was left to find his own way as he was released. Castillo landed on the Giants – who are now considering a trade with the Marlins for Jorge Cantu.

Essentially then, Beinfest signed three 3B on the trash heap, released one (Castillo), watched another increase his value (Cantu) and the other providing enough data to have potential (Dallas McPherson) and is now poised to cash in for Sanchez, a pretty strong young starting pitcher whom the Marlins could groom (and afford) for the future.

Starting pitching is the biggest asset you can have in baseball. To get more is always a situation where you will have to stack the talent in order to entice the other team to deal – that or the other team must be desperate. The Giants fit neatly into both categories. It cannot be overlooked that Sanchez has almost 1 K per inning for his 2008 campaign, despite his high ERA and BAA. It is known that pitchers seem to mature in their late 20’s as the game is mostly cerebral. And Cantu has his flaws – low OBP, weak defense (22 errors).

In essence, this fits into the Marlins plan – stockpile pitching and cut down on the strikeouts on offense while looking to put the ball in play. Cantu could be replaced by Dallas McPherson, who hit 42 home runs in the Pacific Coast League last season while Sanchez could be added immediately to the rotation that would boast a pretty formidable young staff. It only would cost the Marlins a player that they took a flyer on who increased his value.

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