After a resurgent season in the Braves’ rotation, right-hander Anibal Sanchez tells Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he hopes to continue playing but hasn’t thought much about his future just yet. Sanchez, like many others, went through a lengthy free-agent odyssey last offseason and ultimately settled for a non-guaranteed deal with the Twins before being cut loose and signing a minor league deal with Atlanta. The 34-year-old adds that when he does eventually retire, he hopes to embark on a coaching career after taking a few years to spend time with his family. Sanchez has been arguably baseball’s best bargain, helping to a Braves’ staff with 130 2/3 innings of 2.96 ERA ball, 8.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 44.7 percent ground-ball rate.
More from the division…
- Dansby Swanson’s partially torn ligament in his left hand has opened the door for either Ryan Flaherty or Adam Duvall to make the Braves’ NLDS roster, Mark Bowman of MLB.com writes. Were Swanson healthy, then Charlie Culberson would be viewed as an important bench piece; however, if Swanson ruled unable to participate in the Division Series after being evaluated this weekend, Culberson would step into the team’s starting shortstop role. Duvall has hit terribly since being acquired from the Reds prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, but he’d give the team an extra right-handed bat on a bench that would otherwise be stacked with lefties. Bowman notes that both Flaherty and Duvall could get a few starts in the final few games — both played today — as the team evaluates its options.
- The Phillies’ season is ending in a veritable free fall, but GM Matt Klentak recently gave skipper Gabe Kapler a vote of confidence. Kapler, however, spoke to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia about his need to improve as a manager and a leader in 2019 and beyond, bluntly stating that he has “a lot of room to grow and improve.” To that end, Kapler is taking the unorthodox step of sending out an anonymous survey to the team’s coaches and others in the organization to evaluate his performance. Kapler candidly suggests that Phillies leadership “fell short” in preparing young players for the rigors of competing in a pennant chase, highlighting that as one of many areas the organization needs to improve moving forward.
- Injured Mets outfielder Juan Lagares participated in sprinting exercises Thursday for the first time since tearing a plantar plate in his left foot back in May, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. He’s aiming to play in the Dominican Winter League to help prep for the 2019 season. Lagares, considered one of the game’s premier defensive outfielders, has hit just .258/.299/.366 through a mere 961 plate appearances since signing a contract extension that guaranteed him $23MM back in April 2015. Of course, he’s totaled 29 Defensive Runs Saved in barely over 2,000 innings in that time, which speaks to his excellence with the glove. Lagares has been an oft-mentioned trade candidate in recent years, though with $9.5MM still guaranteed on that deal ($9MM 2019 salary plus a $500K buyout on a $9.5MM option for 2020), it’s tough to imagine much demand in him this offseason, barring some salary relief.