Buster Posey was expected to play about 100 games in 2012, so winning the backup catcher job in spring training was huge for Hector Sanchez.
However, Posey hit .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBI, and he barely saw any time off. However, Posey also played multiple games at first base, so Sanchez still saw a good amount of playing time. And, he showed the team what he can do, hitting .280.
But in the playoffs, his production has dropped off.
Sanchez has one hit in 11 at-bats (for a batting average of .091) during the playoffs, striking out seven times and three times in Game 3 of the World Series. In Game 4 of the NLCS, there was a play at the plate, and Sanchez was about to tag out Matt Carpenter. But he dropped the ball, allowing Carpenter to score.
It's worth mentioning that Sanchez had a 23.9 percent strikeout rate in the regular season, which isn't horrible. But it's also worth noting that Sanchez walked five times, posting a miserable .295 on-base percentage.
No wonder Bochy hasn't tried to find an everyday spot in the lineup for Sanchez.
San Francisco doesn't have any use for him. Eli Whiteside is only a career .215 hitter, but he would be fine as a backup. They could sign an old backup or just use Whiteside until Andrew Susac develops, using Posey as the everyday starter with his leg fully healed.
The Giants have lots of depth at catcher, and Sanchez isn't anything special. However, he would help teams with a depleted supply of catchers, something fellow Bleacher Report writer Ely Sussman brought up in this article.
Tampa Bay is on the brink of contending for a playoff berth and a World Series berth, and Sanchez can be a part of the fun there. As Sussman pointed out, their catchers posted a miniature .637 OPS in 2012.
Jose Lobaton wasn't horrible, but he isn't a long-term answer. Jose Molina is old, and he doesn't have a future in Tampa Bay. So, trading for Sanchez and developing him would help Sanchez because he would be a regular, and it would help Tampa Bay because they would receive more production at catcher.
In return, Tampa Bay could and probably would unload a pitcher or prospect, since they already have a terrible offense. They could give up the young, hard-throwing Chris Archer, who posted a 4.60 ERA, or Wade Davis, who went 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 2012.
Davis has always been a starter, but he thrived out of the bullpen (sort of like Tim Lincecum in the playoffs). In the case of an injury, he could slide into the rotation, and there wouldn't be any problems. If not, he could become the long reliever the Giants need.
Archer didn't have a great ERA, but he struck out 36 batters in 29.1 innings while holding opponents to just a .215 batting average. He pitched out of the bullpen and in the rotation in 2012, showing the ability to dominate at times. On September 8, he struck out 11 Rangers in seven innings while allowing just two runs.
With the help of pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner, Archer could develop as one of the better pitchers. In the case of an injury or struggles from a starter, Archer could take over there. Or, the Giants could opt to keep his velocity up and use him as a hard-throwing reliever who can chew up innings.
If the Giants do explore options, they don't have to look only at the Rays. There are teams with stocked farm systems that would likely trade a prospect for Sanchez, and that would really help the Giants, owners of a depleted farm system.
The Angels could try to upgrade at catcher, since they have Bobby Wilson and Chris Iannetta right now. They don't have a great farm system either, but they could give San Francisco a prospect. Sanchez has talent, and he could possibly hit .280 for a season (and boost his OBP and defensive skillset).
Sanchez is starting material, but he's no Buster Posey. Posey is the future in San Francisco, and it's clear that he is much better on defense, much better on offense and able to handle the grind of a 162-game season. So, there's nowhere else to put Sanchez (who isn't very versatile on defense) other than another team.
San Francisco can use improvement. Other teams can use improvement. So why not make a deal and ship Sanchez out, so we can add another arm to our collection?
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