The New York Yankees aren’t in desperate need of pitching at the current moment but after injuries have hit the bullpen and rotation recently it might be smart to stash a veteran arm in the minors for the time being. One such pitcher just hit the open market after the Pittsburgh Pirates released Jonathan Sanchez after designating him for assignment on April 30th.
It wasn’t long ago that Sanchez was a promising young pitcher with the San Francisco Giants. However, Sanchez, now 30, has struggled the past two seasons, especially with his command. Last season, Sanchez went 1-9 with a beefy 8.07 ERA in 15 starts that also saw him walk 53 batters while only striking out 45 with the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies.
This past off-season, Sanchez signed a minor league deal with the Pirates but injuries forced the team to put him in the rotation where Sanchez struggled mightily posting an 11.85 ERA in five games, four of which were starts. He has accumulated only 13.2 innings this season.
His recent struggles are a far cry from the 458 innings he pitched for the Giants from 2009-11 while averaging 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings and posting a 3.75 ERA. There might be something left in the tank. He is, after all, only 30.
The Yankees recently took a chance on Chien Ming Wang and should do the same with Sanchez. The worst case scenario is Sanchez can’t fix himself and ends up getting released. The best case is he returns to the 2009-11 form and adds a depth arm for the Yankees in case of injuries.
The way this season has gone for the Yankees health-wise adding Sanchez would be very good insurance just in case. He has already proven he is willing to take a minor league deal and should be willing to do the same with another team. It never hurts to stockpile veteran arms in Triple-A for emergency purposes. Last year the Yankees stashed 39-year-old Ramon Ortiz in Triple-A just in case and he went 13-6 with a 3.45 ERA across 27 starts so why not take a chance on the much younger Jonathan Sanchez?