When the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Jonathan Sanchez to a deal as a non-roster invite in the offseason, I didn’t think much of it. In my mind, there was no way he was actually going to make the Pirates’ roster coming off a season with an 8.07 ERA and more walks than strikeouts. I was wrong, way wrong.
The Pirates announced a few weeks ago that Sanchez would be the team’s fourth starter. That was disappointing, but then when Sanchez started against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, he had a really good game, for his standards. Sanchez went five innings, giving up just three runs on six hits with only one walk. I bought in to the good version of Sanchez, thinking, hoping, no, praying that that was the Sanchez that was here to stay in 2013. Again, I was wrong.
Sanchez started for the Pirates today at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he got crushed. In just 3.1 innings pitched, Sanchez gave up nine runs on eight hits and four walks, while giving up two home runs to A.J. Pollock.
I know, because of the Wandy Rodriguez injury, he likely would have been called up from Triple-A anyway, but let’s forget about that injury. If the entire pitching staff was healthy, including Francisco Liriano, Jeff Karstens, and Charlie Morton, Sanchez would have been cut before Spring Training ended. However, those guys aren’t healthy, so Sanchez is pitching in the Pirates’ rotation.
What does Jonathan Sanchez provide that a guy like Kyle McPherson couldn’t give the Pirates? McPherson may need some time in Triple-A to perfect his mechanics or whatever he has to do down there, but this was supposed to be a year for the Pirates to compete for a playoff spot.
Letting Sanchez be your fourth starter isn’t helping you compete, Pirates. You hear that Neal Huntington? You hear that Bob Nutting? How about you, Clint Hurdle? Get your best players on the field. If you want to take your time with top prospects like Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole, that’s completely fine with me, but with someone like McPherson that isn’t exactly a top prospect, let him play.