One of the things that we have been trying to present here on Motor City Bengals is some realistic options via trades, or through free agency. While some are more realistic than others, there is no doubt that the focus of some of the younger guys that I personally have looked at are second baseman. Second base is clearly a need for the Tigers, but it certainly isn’t the only place they could stand an upgrade. If you follow us regularly and check out the comments sections of our articles, you will see a poster named Sportz, who mentioned Jonathan Sanchez yesterday. There is good reason for that.
For a look at Sanchez, follow through to the next page.
Sanchez, for those not familiar with him, is a left-handed starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Sanchez, who is 29 in a couple of weeks, has spent his entire career with the Giants after breaking in with them in 2006 at the age of 23. After a rough start to his career, Sanchez has settled into a good #4 type starters role, and only inconsistency has gotten in the way of him becoming at least a #3 starter. For his career, Sanchez carries a 4.26 ERA, although it is a quality 3.75 over the last three seasons. Sanchez can be one of the more frustrating pitchers in baseball, dominating at times, yet he shoots himself in the foot with poor command at times. In 2011, he finished the season on the disabled list, watching guys like Eric Surkamp and Ryan Voglesong show pretty well in their opportunities.
Stuff. Sanchez has really good stuff for a lefty as evidenced by his K rate over his career. Sanchez has struck out 9.4 batters per 9 innings with a solid fastball that has averaged 90.7 mph over his career, a solid to good change, and a wipe out slider. He misses bats at a 10.3% swinging strike rate over the course of his career. For reference, that is .02 percent higher than Max Scherzer over his career.
Prime Time. Sanchez is essentially in his prime right now, and his last 3 years suggest that he is capable of putting together some good seasons, especially if the Tigers have him as a 4th or 5th starter. The next 3 or 4 years should be good seasons if healthy.
American League isn’t scary. Often times when you are talking about acquiring a National League pitcher, their inter-league splits are scarier than having to listen or watch anything Justin Beiber does. This isn’t the case with Sanchez. In 89.1 innings against the American League, Sanchez has a very respectable 3.73 ERA.
Command. So far, I have successfully managed to skirt around the main issue why Sanchez isn’t as successful as he could be. He doesn’t throw a ton of strikes. Sanchez has walked a whopping 4.8 batters per 9 innings over his career, meaning there can be a lot of traffic on the bases when he pitches. However, his xFIP over his career is lower than his career ERA suggesting that he isn’t necessarily pitching in luck.
Injuries. Sanchez hasn’t had too much trouble with the injury bug until the 2011 season. In general, he has been healthy, but his two injuries he had last season kind of alarmed me. One was diagnosed as biceps tendinitis, and the other was an ankle injury that mysteriously wasn’t healing. The biceps thing can often be precursor to Tommy John, and the ankle is obviously something he uses to push off of, as it is his left ankle that he hurt.
It’s been pretty widely speculated that Sanchez might be available to teams that are willing to give the Giants a bat in exchange for Sanchez. He has been kind of pushed out of the rotation by Ryan Vogelsong at this point, as the Giants have 6 guys for 5 spots. His contract situation also makes it easier for the Giants to part with him. 2012 is Sanchez’ last year of arbitration before he becomes a free agent the following year. The Giants aren’t exactly big spenders despite the ridiculous Barry Zito disaster, and parting with Sanchez makes sense for them before the season starts.
Sanchez is a good fit. He would give the Tigers a solid 5th starting option. Yes, he would likely be wildly inconsistent, but then again, that’s just what 5th starters usually are. He could be relatively valuable to the Tigers depending on his performance as well. Assuming he sticks with the Tigers throughout the season, they could potentially receive a comp pick the following season, or if they felt it necessary, could deal him at the deadline if they were out of it.
Let us know what you think about the Tigers acquiring Jonathan Sanchez below.