The  San Francisco Giants moved one of their pitchers for a position player on Monday, sending Jonathan Sanchez to Kansas City for Melky Cabrera. The Giants slipped to second place in the NL west as they tried to defend their 2010 World Series championship due largely to a weak offense. The arms continued to be among the best in baseball.

Enter the Royals, a franchise on the rise with a wealth of outfielders. Cabrera bounced around the majors before bouncing back in big way with a solid 2011. His .305 average was in the top 10 and marked a career high for the switch-hitter, as did his 18 HR, 87 RBI and .809 OPS.

All good signs for the Giants,  who can use all the offense they can get.

Sanchez was slowed by injuries in 2011, going 4-7 over 19 starts with 5.9 BB/9 and 9.1 K/9. The lefty posted a slew of career-bests in the 2010 title run: 13 wins, 193 1/3 IP, 205 K’s and a 3.07 ERA.

The 2011 season was disappointing for the Giants just about everwhere but on the mound. While Sanchez struggled, Ryan Vogelsong stepped up and Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain remained formidable. 2012 should see C Buster Posey and 2B Freddie Sanchez back in the lineup after injuries ended their seasons early. Adding Cabrera, possibly in CF, is another piece in GM Brian Sabean’s puzzle as he tries to build another title contender.

Andrew Baggarly’s Extra Baggs column