With all the news surrounding the Eagles, people may have missed the nugget that MLB Network’s Jon Morosi released on his Instagram on Monday. The Phillies are showing interest in former Nationals hurler Anibal Sanchez as they look to add more pitching depth to the Big League squad.
It seems like Sanchez has been in the league forever, but it has only been 15 years. Making his debut with the Marlins in 2006, which coincides with Joe Girardi’s one and only year managing the team. Over his 15 year career, Sanchez is 112-113 with an ERA of 4.05, having spent time with the Marlins, Tigers, Braves, and Nationals. Not only is he familiar with Girardi, but Sanchez is also familiar Dave Dombrowski from his time with the Tigers.
After a very productive season in 2019, Sanchez came back down to Earth in 2020. In 53 innings, Sanzhez went 4-5 with an ERA of 6.62. Underlying earned run stats, like FIP, showed that, while he wasn’t as bad as the ERA may say, he was still not very good. His FIP finished at 5.46 in 2020. That being said, 2020 could very possibly have been just a down year for Sanchez. However, a move to sign Sanchez would not get many members of the fan base jumping for joy.
Sanchez will be 37 come Opening Day, and, seems to have lost some stuff on his pitches. While his fastball has always hovered in the low 90’s, in 2020, that average velocity dipped to 89.6 mph. Now with a pitcher that is much more of a control pitcher, it won’t make as big of a difference as it would for a power pitcher. Sanchez has always had a good feel for mixing his fastball, changeup, and cutter, relying on batters to put pitches in play and have his defense make the plays.
While many fans will be up in arms with the amount that a Sanchez signing moves the needle, or lack thereof, this is the kind of move that I expected this team to make in the rotation. Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin are coming back as the top-3 in the rotation, so there isn’t really a desperate need for a game changing starter. With young kids like Spencer Howard and Damon Jones competing for the spots after them, bringing in a veteran like Sanchez would be smart. Not only could he be depth if one of the young kids struggles, but he can also work with the young kids and help bring them along.
I don’t expect this type of signing to break the bank, and it shouldn’t. Pitching depth has become the name of the game in MLB and Dombrowski made it clear that he was going to find some when he was first hired as the president. A Major League team could do much worse than having Anibal Sanchez toe the rubber every fifth day, and the familiarity with powerful people in the organization makes this move make more sense.
Not a move that would generate a lot of excitement in Philly, but this move serves a needed purpose.
The Phillies, like most MLB teams, are in bargain shopping mode. Let’s hope they find some winners.