By Gabriel Rizk, Burbank Leader
Published: July 30, 2009
The three-time All-Star and former National League batting titlist was swapped for Double-A starting pitcher Tim Alderson in a move announced shortly after Sanchez’s new club completed a three-game sweep of his former one with a 1-0 10-inning victory at AT&T Park.
"It’s crazy," Sanchez, who played at Glendale Community College, told espn.com of the surrexperience of saying farewell to his Pirates teammates in the visitors’ clubhouse, then walking down the hall to the Giants’ clubhouse to join his new team. "I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a little crazy, a little hectic. I’m here for a reason."
Sanchez, 31, who is under contract through next season, is expected to slide into the No. 2 hole in the Giants’ batting order as the everyday second baseman.
San Francisco continues its seven-game homestand with the first of four games against the Philadelphia Phillies today, but it may be some time yet before Sanchez makes his Giants debut.
An inflamed left knee has kept Sanchez off the field since Sunday and nearly prevented the trade from happening. But the Giants medical staff reportedly examined the knee again on Wednesday before completing the trade and found noticeable improvement. He is currently listed as day to day.
"It’s tough coming to a new team not knowing if you can play or not," Sanchez said to espn.com. "That’s the last thing you want to do is come to a new team and be in the trainer’s room. I want to get there as soon as I can, but I also want to be smart about it."
Sanchez batted .344 to win the National League batting crown in 2006, when he also notched his first All-Star selection. An All-Star in 2008 and 2009, he has been one of the most consistent players on a Pirates team that has not had a winning season since 1992, batting .304 in 2007 and .296 with six home runs, 34 runs batted in and 45 runs scored this season through Wednesday.
Sanchez struck an optimistic tone about his sixth season in Pittsburgh during spring training this year, but as the organization began to trade away its most accomplished — and highest paid — players in exchange for prospects, his name began to come up as one of the pieces to be traded.
Failed attempts between Sanchez, who will be paid $8 million next season, and the Pirates to negotiate a contract extension over the last few weeks only intensified the speculation he would be dealt ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Sanchez initially turned down an extension offer on July 21 of $10 million over the next two seasons. That proposed deal would have also required him to waive the incentive clause in his current contract that would earn him $8.4 million due in 2010 if he makes 600 plate appearances in 2009, a milestone he stands a good chance of reaching at his current pace.
The counter-offer of $6.5 million next year, $6.5 million in 2011 and $7 million in 2012 made by Sanchez and his representatives was rejected by the Pirates.
"I’m human," Sanchez, who joins Nate McClouth, Nyjer Morgan, Adam LaRoche, Jack Wilson and Ian Snell, the last two also being traded Wednesday, on the list of prominent Pirates to be traded this season, told the Associated Press. "You try to put things in the back of your head and be professional about it, but we’re all human.
"It just feels good that it’s over with. There was a little uncertainty. Now I can just concentrate and go play and help these guys win."
Sanchez, who has never appeared in a playoff game in his eight-year career, which began in 2002 with the Boston Red Sox, joins a Giants team that holds a one-game lead over the Colorado Rockies in the National League wild-card race.
As the Pirates seem intent on scrapping their roster, the Giants appear to be in the mode of shoring up their lineup for a stretch run, having dealt for first baseman Ryan Garko from the Cleveland Indians just a day earlier.
"I think [the Sanchez trade] is great news," said Bill Hertz, a Glendale resident who represents San Francisco starting pitcher Barry Zito. "I’m really happy for Freddy. I’m really happy for the Giants."