March 15: In a subsequent tweet, Dougherty clarifies that Sanchez will make a base salary of $2MM, with a chance make a total of $3MM through performance bonuses.
March 13: The Nationals have signed righty Aaron Sanchez to a minor league deal, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman and Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Sanchez is represented by the Boras Corporation. Dougherty notes that if Sanchez makes the Majors, he has a $2MM base salary and another potential $4MM in incentives.
Sanchez, 29, was a first-round draft pick of the Blue Jays back in 2010. He hit a high point in 2016 at the age of 23, when he made the All-Star team and finished seventh in the AL Cy Young voting. Sanchez would be limited to just eight starts in 2017 due to a blister/split fingernail that required four separate IL stints. Further finger issues held him to 20 starts in 2018, culminating in season-ending surgery. Sanchez battled through similar issues in 2019, making 27 starts on the season but averaging fewer than five innings per turn. Sanchez was not able to replicate his previous success, posting a 5.45 ERA, lackluster 18.6 K%, and unfortunate 11.7 BB% across 2018-19.
By the 2019 trade deadline, the Blue Jays had seen enough, trading Sanchez to the Astros. While it was thought that the Astros might work magic with Sanchez’s curveball, the righty quickly went down for shoulder surgery and was non-tendered after the 2019 season.
After missing the shortened 2020 season recovering from surgery, Sanchez re-emerged to sign a $4MM deal with the Giants in February 2021. He hit the IL in May with right biceps tendinitis, getting further derailed with a blister. Upon his return in late July, Sanchez was used out of the bullpen. After three appearances, he was designated for assignment and then released. At this point, Sanchez has tallied only 35 1/3 innings in the last two years.
If he’s healthy now, Sanchez could hardly find a better opportunity than at the back end of the Nationals’ rotation. They’ve got Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Josiah Gray, and Paolo Espino slated for the top four spots, with Sanchez likely to battle with another of today’s non-roster additions, Anibal Sanchez, for the fifth starter job, among others. Strasburg is said to be healthy after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery last July. News on Joe Ross was less encouraging, as the righty will be out six to eight weeks due to elbow surgery.