The Padres have claimed catcher Hector Sanchez off waivers from the White Sox, per the MLB.com transactions page. Because he’s out of options, Sanchez will be added to the Major League roster. Left-hander Robbie Erlin was moved to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 40-man roster.
Sanchez, a 26-year-old switch-hitter, has spent the bulk of his career in the NL West, appearing with the Giants in each of the past five seasons, primarily as a backup to Buster Posey. He picked up eight plate appearances with the White Sox this season, collecting one hit in seven official at-bats, and is a career .238/.273/.348 hitter in 645 plate appearances at the Major League level. He’s also halted 26 percent of opposing stolen base attempts and, dating back to the 2013 season, Baseball Prospectus feels that he’s been slightly above-average in terms of pitch framing.
While Erlin’s transfer to the 60-day DL explains the 40-man portion of the puzzle, it’s not immediately clear how Sanchez fits onto the 25-man roster for the Padres, who have used Derek Norris and Christian Bethancourt behind the plate thus far in the 2016 season. Neither has hit much this season, with Norris in particular struggling to a dismal .167/.213/.275 batting line through his first 108 plate appearances. Bethancourt, meanwhile, has slashed .222/.241/.519 in just 29 plate appearances, but he’s out of minor league options as well, so the Padres wouldn’t be able to send him down without first exposing him to waivers. Norris, it’s worth noting, does have minor league options remaining, but he’s also earning $2.925MM in 2016 after his first trip through the arbitration process this past winter.