There are a variety of things that could happen with Sanchez going into this Winter. The Giants could simply decline to offer him arbitration, feeling his financial burden isn’t worth the return but they’d be out a rotational pitcher and out a draft pick given Sanchez’s free agent status. So in short, that’s not going to happen.
The most likely scenario is that the Giants will offer Sanchez arbitration, signing him to a one year deal and moving forward from there.
One of the main reasons the Giants called up Eric Surkamp (outside of the rash of injuries to both Zito and Sanchez) was to see just how developed he was – did he need more seasoning in the minors or could the Giants get away with him in the fifth starter role for this upcoming season? Given the results of his six starts, the Giants had their answer. So with Surkamp’s lack of readiness, Zito’s instability and little else to provide an immediate return in the minor league system the Giants’ hands are all but tied when it comes to Sanchez, they need him just as bad as he needs the Giants – maybe even more.
Sanchez, who was under contract for 4.4 million this past season stands to earn a potential 5.5-6 million dollars in arbitration this Winter, not exactly a salary the Giants will be comfortable with given their financial crunch but one they’re going to bite the bullet on. For all the negativity that can surround Sanchez, talent wise, he oozes it. Mentally it’s a different story, but you simply can’t walk away from a pitcher who possesses the type of abilities Sanchez has.
Now, with all of that said, while I fully expect Sanchez to return and claim title to the fifth starter role coming out of the Spring, assuming he’ll be with the Giants at the end of the 2012 season is a long shot. Sanchez will be due for a bigger raise at the completion of ’12, pushing 30 years old and most likely be looking for a long term deal. No thanks.
Expect the black and orange to dangle Sanchez as early as the arbitration process is complete for some offensive help. He’ll be back, but, his stay will most likely be short lived. There are a lot of teams that can take the risk on a pitcher like Jonathan Sanchez – the Giants just aren’t one of them.