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Monday, November 5, 2012

ANIBAL SANCHEZ: THE SHORT & LONG TERM FIX

Everyone who follows the Yankees knows that in this past postseason starting pitching was a huge strength, and even during in the regular season it was pretty solid as well. However, going forward, it could very well turn into a weakness. There are many starters out on the free agent market that fix short-term problems, while there are few that also fix long-term problems. Anibal Sanchez is one of those guys who can fix both short and long-term problems, thus he should be a target of Brian Cashman.

I briefly talked about Sanchez in BYB’s first installment of free agent and trade rumors. In case you missed it, read BYB TRADE RUMORS & FREE AGENTS: PART 1. In it, I noted that Sanchez has been a rock for the last three seasons. Take a look at the table below to see how Sanchez has done the previous three seasons:

As you can see, Sanchez has been consistently dependable since 2010 (Postseason excluded). A large bulk of that (83 of 95 starts) came as a Florida/Miami Marlin, but when he came over to the American League this summer, he started off slow, but pitched relatively well the rest of the way. In his final 11 starts with Detroit, including postseason, Sanchez pitched to a sparkling 2.05 ERA while posting a very strong 4.8 K/BB ratio while allowing a miniscule 7.2 base hits per nine innings pitched. Is he going to pitch like that for the duration of a potential contract with the Yankees? Probably not, but either way, he has strong potential.

A big reason to sign Sanchez is not only for 2013, but for the years beyond that. Like it or not, the Yankees are on a somewhat tight budget based on how the roster is currently constructed. We need not only short-term fixes, but long-term fixes as well. Sanchez, who turns 29 in late February, is worth a four, or even five year, contract, as it covers the rest of his peak years. Also, if you look at the Yankees’ rotation, there are a number of question marks going forward. Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda could comeback in 2013, and that’s nice, but what about 2014 and beyond? Will Phil Hughes, who is a free agent after 2013, be in the team’s long-term plans? How about Ivan Nova and David Phelps? Will they step up and be reliable mid-rotation arms? Point is, if the Yankees sign Sanchez, he’ll relieve some stress.

Now, onto what kind of contract he’ll receive. There’s a chance that guys like Andy Pettitte, Kuroda, Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, and Russell Martin could all be off the roster by 2014 when the payroll drops to $189M. With this in mind, signing Sanchez shouldn’t be a problem financially. I see Sanchez as a rock-solid number three, or even a number two, going forward. Signing him to a four year, $60 million deal would make sense. $15M per year could be a tad over what I’d preferably pay him per year, but it’s probably worth it. Like I said, Sanchez fixes not only short-term problems, but long-term problems as well. If the Yankees sign him, which I really, really hope they do, he would fit nicely right behind CC Sabathia in the rotation for 2013 and the years going forward.




--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @SchindlerJesse


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