Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez is scheduled to take the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. It could be a make or break performance for the 30 year old as the Pirates will have to decide whether Sanchez makes the big club or if they will send him on his way and let him become a free agent.
Before Sunday I thought Pittsburgh would just let Sanchez go. Then the team found out that Jeff Karstens‘ shoulder was still giving him trouble and he would be starting the season on the disabled list. That bit of news changed the whole situation. Now Sanchez might just be the best available option for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Sanchez is the kind of player that gives general managers fits. He has so much potential, but it only shows up in fits and spurts. He is coming off a season where the word horrendous is actually being kind. He started off with the Kansas City Royals and had a record of 1-6 with an earned run average of 7.76. He had a walks and hits per innings pitched ratio of 2.000. Then he was traded to the Colorado Rockies and things actually got worse. He had an ERA of 9.53 in three starts before his season ended.
The Pirates should view Sanchez as a rental. With Karstens eventually coming back, along with Francisco Liriano, Sanchez will probably be needed for just the first couple of months. They can evaluate him from outing to outing and decide whether the relationship should continue. He might just be the team’s best option right now. If he is the best option the whole season, the Pirates are in serious trouble.