When I hear the name Anibal Sanchez one thing comes to mind…
I would attempt to finish that sentence, but I can’t.
Now keep in mind Sanchez was an integral pickup for the Detroit Tigers in their run to the World Series, but when I hear sources; Sportsnet, FOX Sports reporting that Sanchez is eying $90 million over 6-years, I shake my head.
To get a grip on what he is asking, Sanchez is looking for $15 million a year. Again, that’s $15 million a year for someone who has two winning seasons over the course of seven years. In his career, he has compiled a 48-51 record and a career 3.75 ERA does not equate to Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Mariano Rivera or Jered Weaver-type money.
The Toronto Blue Jays are going through, I wouldn’t say a rebuild this coming season, but more of a reload. They just signed Maicer Izturis to a three-year contract for $9 million, making Yunel Escobar expendable. Jose Bautista, their biggest bargaining chip, should be ready for Spring Training and their rotation is anchored by Brandon Morrow and, hopefully, a recovered Ricky Romero.
Incidentally, Carlos Villanueva has shown that he can be a suitable number four starter. He made great strides in 2012 making 16 starts and hit a career-high in innings pitched. With what’s on the market now, the Jays, with the inclusion of Henderson Alvarez as a number five and J.A. Happ as a swing guy, should be okay until Drew Hutchinson and Kyle Drabek return from injury in 2014.
The No. 3 starter Alex Anthopoulos is looking for will more than likely be way over-paid and considering how valuable a quality starter is its understandable. But $90 million for a guy whose numbers aren’t that different from Villeanueva’s makes no sense.
Heck, their WAR last year-a number that represents the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player would-is an identical 1.2 (please note Sanchez WAR of 1.2 with the Tigers, courtesy of Baseball Reference).
The free agent market isn’t as strong as most years for starting pitching, but settling for what’s out there isn’t the answer.
The biggest names on the market—Zack Greinke and Ryan Dempster—are better than Sanchez and will command more money, so scratch them off the wish list.
The best of the rest—Edwin Jackson (unreliable), Hiroki Kuroda (too old and too expensive), Joe Blanton (is Joe Blanton), and Brandon McCarthy (wonky shoulder)—should not be considered if you are looking to take that next step.
Kyle Lohse is an interesting suggestion.
Lohse is coming off a career-year posting highs or lows in nearly every important statistical category. The question you will continue to ask yourself will always be, can he be a dependable top of the rotation guy who doesn’t revert to the Kyle Lohse we’re all used to?
Sanchez, Lohse, and all the rest are all going to be paid way over market value and the Jays should stay away from these guys at all costs. They are not the type of players you can build around and their history suggests they’re not.
If you are throwing out contract numbers in the $100 million range you need a legitimate starter. These players, regardless of what they’ve accomplished in the past couple years, are fool's gold. They are not what the Jays need at this time. Sitting back and trading excess talent could be an option but this is not the way to do it.
Devon is a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario, Canada, and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.