The SF Giants made a minor roster move on Friday by releasing middle infielder Yolmer Sanchez.
It appears to have been a mutual decision as the SF Giants did not have a need at second base, and Sanchez wanted to pursue other opportunities:
The Giants originally signed the switch-hitting middle infielder in January of 2020 to a minor league pact. Sanchez had turned down several major league offers, and the expectation was the he would see substantial time at second base.
It was a mild surprise that the Giants were even able to reel in Sanchez on a non-guaranteed deal, especially given that he earned an American League Gold Glove award at second base in 2019. His highlight reel from last season is impressive:
Upon signing with the team, the 28-year-old worked extensively with the Giants hitting coaches to improve his bat.
Though, the extra work did not pay dividends as he recorded only three hits in 29 Cactus League at-bats.
He rejoined the team in summer camp, but did not an impression. Before Opening Day, Sanchez battled a bout back stiffness that put him on the shelf, and the Giants assigned him to the alternative training site in Sacramento to continue working on his swing.
Why did the SF Giants not promote Sanchez?
He returned to health, but never got the call to join the SF Giants thanks in part to the rise of Donovan Solano.
Solano slashed a stout .330/.360/.456 line (115 OPS+) in 2019, but there was some sense that this was a fluke season. He has returned in 2020 with an even stronger .386/.422/.530 line (162 OPS+) while seeing the majority of his time at second base.
Despite the team’s struggles on defense, including Solano’s work at second base, it is difficult to sit someone who has a .386 batting average in favor of a glove-first player like Sanchez, who has a .656 OPS in his career.
Sanchez’s SF Giants career ends before it began, and now the slick-fielding second baseman is a free agent looking for another opportunity. Given his age and versatility, Sanchez should have no problem landing back on his feet.