Red Sox Free Agency: Anibal Sanchez offers a bargain solution for pitching
Red Sox could turn to Anibal Sanchez for a bargain pitching solution
The Boston Red Sox haven’t minced words once since the 2020 season ended, their mission this offseason, find pitching. It’s not a surprising concept considering the follies of this staff not only during this season but in 2019 as well. The starting rotation is a shadow of the powerhouse it was during the World Series run and the bullpen is the team’s Achilles’ heel. So, what are Chaim Bloom and his team to do? Why, go bargain hunting, of course!
This year’s free-agent class is the big name studs as free agency always will, but it’s also riddled with quality arms that can come at a discount. As I looked up and down the list for this winter’s gaggle of players one name jumped out, Anibal Sanchez. Now, I know the idea of signing Sanchez may not be as sexy of a move as getting Trevor Bauer or another big name, but this is the definition of a win-win.
I’m going to look at the last three seasons for Sanchez as it offers up a glimpse into some of his best work as well as some of his worst. Let’s start with his year. 2020 was a season that saw players continue to thrive while others couldn’t get out of the blocks, Sanchez was in the latter group. A 4-5 record in 53 IP would land him a 6.62 ERA as well as an AL-leading 39 ER. It just wasn’t in the cards for him this year and he looked every bit of his 36 years of age.
He didn’t run into his usual injury woes this year but then again with just 60 games on the schedule, he may not have had the time to tire out. Sanchez has spent anywhere from 2-6 weeks on the IL over the last years thanks to his hamstring. It’s no surprise that his year was off, again, it was for many on the diamond, so let’s look at some of the better times.
He was a key member of Washington’s run to the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2019 and had a solid year getting to October. The righty went 11-8 with a strong 3.85 ERA through 166 innings. He also kept the free passes to a minimum with a 3.1 BB/9, while tossing 7.3 K/9. Respectable numbers for a veteran that at that time had 14 years under his belt in the Majors.
Now if we go back two years in the history books we see even better numbers from the right-hander. The starts and innings were down as he spent 42 days on the IL with that pesky hamstring, but he did work with the time that he did have. A 7-6/2.83/136.3/1.083 line was the reward for his efforts and a 2.8 BB/9 and 8.9 K/9 was the cherry on the sundae.
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Obviously, any deal that Chaim Bloom sends Sanchez’s way would more likely be based on his previous work than what we saw in 2020. Also, if there were a contract tendered to the righty it wouldn’t be anything long-term due to his age. He’ll be turning 37-years-old as the season is about to kick off and may only have a few runs left in him.
To make this a good deal for both sides, based on his previous earnings, I’m thinking something along the lines of two-years/$6M. It’s a pay cut for Sanchez but considering the factors, I can’t see him getting much else from any other teams. I like what Sanchez can bring to the table, but if Boston wasn’t willing to pay Martin Perez, they surely won’t sign a big check for Anibal. Right?
So far the offseason has been relatively quiet but all it takes is for one domino to fall then the chain reaction will begin. Red Sox ownership and management have all said that they want to compete in 2021 and will spend to get there but within reason. Again, that’s why Bloom was brought here, to spend wisely and re-build the farm system, so far he’s doing both according to plan. Adding Sanchez on a bargain deal could accomplish their need to add veteran pitching while not breaking the bank this winter.