The front office led by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer apparently saw a lot of potential in the lefty – who threw a no-hitter in 2009 and had three successful years between 2008 and 2010 with the San Francisco Giants – and have reportedly signed him to a minor league deal that includes an invite to Spring Training.
The Sanchez signing is definitely a move that will add flexibility to the pitching staff, although it remains to be seen if it will pay off. Sanchez was hit hard in his last stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals, but he appeared to bounce back at the end of the year with the AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, reportedly clocking 95 mph in his fastball as a starter.
The Cubs, however, aren’t planning to stretch him out to start. With Travis Wood as the lefty in the rotation, Chicago could use Sanchez as a LOOGY as his numbers are much better against LH (3.86 FIP) than RH (4.60 FIP) throughout his career. With the presence of James Russell and Wesley Wright already in the pen as lefties, the Cubs could even be creating a surplus to make a deal, a situation where Russell appears the most likely to go.
The Cubs have had several success signing bounce-back candidates in recent years with guys like Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman as examples. But neither was coming off the bad years that Sanchez has had so in that sense he appears to be the typical high risk-high reward the Cubs have been taking a chance on in recent times.