This is what happens when you don’t win the World Series. You start making moves to get over the hump. The takeaway: The Giants get a leadoff hitter and give up an inconsistent pitcher.

The Giants have formally announced their trade of Jonathan Sanchez and minor-league pitcher Ryan Verdugo to the Kansas City Royals for 27-year-old, switch-hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera. In a noon conference call with Brian Sabean, we’ll learn what this means for the Carlos Beltran pursuit. Actually, this might mean more for Andres Torres, since Cabrera is a center fielder.

This move impacts Cody Ross as well if Beltran is brought back. Melky Cabrera brings speed and power to the top of a lineup that sorely needs both.

Jonathan Sanchez will be missed. When healthy, he’s definitely a better pitcher than Zito at this stage of their careers. We’ll see how that exchange goes. Giants fans should both thank him for his contributions in 2010 and wish him well as he tries to find a consistency that was lacking this last season.

Final Thought: Obviously what you do in October is all that counts; hats off to the Cardinals. But let’s not forget that the Giants were a better team than St. Louis for most of the year. Hopefully the front office sees that injuries to two clutch players led to the offensive malaise that cost the Giants a chance to defend their title. Tweaks are needed but the core pitcher heavy, post-season tested team remains.