The Nationals will be calling on Aaron Sanchez to join the team tomorrow, reports Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post. Sanchez is not currently on the club’s 40-man roster, meaning that a corresponding move will be necessary in order to open a spot for him.
Signed to a minor league deal in the offseason, Sanchez will lock in a $2MM salary once his contract is selected. There are also performance incentives in the deal that, if unlocked, could get Sanchez as much as $3MM on the year.
Now 29 years old, Sanchez was a first round selection of the Blue Jays in the 2010 draft. He made it to the majors in 2014, his age-21 season. He largely worked out of the bullpen in his first couple of seasons, but earned a spot in the starting rotation for 2016. He made 30 starts for the Jays that year, throwing 192 innings with an ERA of 3.00, 20.4% strikeout rate, 8% walk rate and 54.4% groundball rate.
Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to repeat a performance close to that since, as blister and fingernail issues nagged at him over the next few seasons. After a few injury-marred seasons, the Blue Jays flipped him to the Astros in 2019. He only made four starts for Houston before shoulder surgery ended his season, leading the club to non-tender him. After recovering from that surgery, Sanchez signed with the Giants for 2021, throwing 35 1/3 innings in between various trips to the IL.
With all of those injuries, Sanchez is far from a sure thing, but the Nationals pitching staff needs the help regardless. Stephen Strasburg, Anibal Sanchez and Joe Ross are all on the injured list right now, leaving the club with a rotation of unproven hurlers like Josiah Gray, Joan Adon, Erick Fedde and Josh Rogers. The elder statesman of the group is Patrick Corbin, but he was bombed by the Giants tonight. The lefty allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings, pushing his ERA up to 11.20 through four starts. Sanchez has made three Triple-A starts on the year so far, throwing 15 innings with a 3.60 ERA, 16.4% strikeout rate, 8.2% walk rate and 45.7% groundball rate.