The SF Giants still have several rotation holes to fill and free-agent Aaron Sanchez could be a tantalizing arm to target.
With this year’s free-agent crop lacking top-end talent, the SF Giants will have to look at some riskier arms. Aaron Sanchez missed all of the 2020 season after battling a shoulder injury, but he represents the type of high-risk, high-reward pitcher that the Giants need to roll the dice on.
As currently constructed, the Giants rotation is only returning Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, and Logan Webb. Tyler Beede should return from Tommy John surgery at some point, but San Francisco has to decide whether to tender a contract to Tyler Anderson for the 2021 season by December 2.
With that being said, the Giants will look to make several more notable additions to the rotation before Spring Training. Sanchez would give the team some depth at the back-end of the rotation that has even more upside.
The right-handed hurler made his major-league debut as a 21-year-old rookie in 2014 with the Toronto Blue Jays. By 2016, he had become an All-Star and earned Cy Young votes on the heels of a season in which he registered a 3.00 (3.55 FIP) with a 20.4 percent strikeout rate against an eight percent walk rate.
He looked to be on the brink of stardom, but he has battled injuries and ineffectiveness since then. Across the six seasons since, Sanchez has posted a 3.98 ERA (4.40 FIP), 1.36 WHIP, and 1.81 SO/BB ratio. Granted, there have been huge fluctuations from season to season.
Sanchez has posted a sterling 1.67 ERA in 59.1 career innings as a reliever. After Farhan Zaidi found success with Drew Pomeranz in the pen, it’s worth considering whether that could be a fallback option with Sanchez as well.
Given that the injuries, including the shoulder injury, have piled up, I do wonder if a permanent move to the bullpen would be a good and necessary long-term role for Sanchez. That may be a consideration down the road, but his agent, Scott Boras, insists that he will be a starter in 2021 even after missing the entire 2020 season due to injury:
Clearly, there are a handful of clubs interested in the 28-year-old pitcher with a Cy Young caliber pedigree. The Giants would be an ideal fit for any reclamation project given the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park. Considering the success they found with Drew Smyly and Gausman last season, it makes even more sense..
The SF Giants will very likely bring on at least three or four more notable arms on one-year, pillow contracts or minor league deals. Sanchez would definitely be in the market for a pillow contract and likely be well within the Giants price range. As they look to rebuild the rotation on the fly, he could be a move that could pay dividends down the road.