MARCH 19: Sanchez’s deal is worth $1MM, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets.
MARCH 16: The Braves announced that they’ve signed right-hander Anibal Sanchez to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League camp for the remainder of Spring Training. The veteran Sanchez, a client of agent Gene Mato, had previously been in camp with the Twins on a non-guaranteed deal but was cut loose when Minnesota’s signing of Lance Lynn ended his bid for a rotation spot. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported recently that Sanchez was nearing a deal with a new club (Twitter link).
Sanchez, 33, wrapped up a five-year, $80MM contract with the Tigers last season, during which he delivered two sensational seasons followed by three ugly years. From 2015-17 with the Tigers, Sanchez logged a total of 415 2/3 innings and surrendered 262 earned runs (5.67 ERA) on 462 hits (85 homers) and 131 walks. Sanchez still shows a penchant for missing bats (8.2 K/9 over the final three years of the deal, 8.9 K/9 in 2017), but his ground-ball rate has eroded and he’s become stunningly homer prone.
The Twins saw enough to give Sanchez a 40-man roster spot earlier this spring, though his contract came with a non-guaranteed salary of $2.5MM, and Minnesota opted to give him 30 days’ termination (roughly $417K) upon signing Lynn, thus allowing Sanchez to reenter the free agent pool with a notable parting gift.
With the Braves, he’ll serve as depth for a starting staff that looks likely to include Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Brandon McCarthy but has some uncertainty beyond that trio. It’s not known what veteran lefty Scott Kazmir has to offer after missing the 2017 season due to injury, and while the Braves have an enviable stock of arms on the cusp of MLB readiness, none has yet solidified himself as a definitive big league starter, Sean Newcomb, Luiz Gohara, Max Fried and Lucas Sims are all vying for rotation spots, while righties Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair remain on the 40-man roster (though that latter pairing has had its fair share of opportunities and subsequent struggles in the Majors).