Sanchez, 30, had previously been with the Giants on a minor league deal. He would have earned a $4MM salary if he made the club but he also had an opt-out on May 1 if he didn’t. He hit just .164/.319/.182 for the River Cats and then triggered that opt-out after the Giants declined to give him a roster spot.
Despite that rough showing, it’s not terribly surprising that the the Angels would have interest, given their uncertainty behind the plate. Logan O’Hoppe was off to a hot start through the first few weeks of the season but was recently diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left shoulder that will keep him out of action for the next four to six months. Max Stassi began the year on the injured list due to a hip injury but has also been waylaid by an unknown personal issue and has no timeline for return, per Sam Blum of The Athletic.
That’s left the club with Chad Wallach and Matt Thaiss as the only healthy backstops on the roster. Wallach is hitting an excellent .261/.292/.522 on the year for a 121 wRC+ but in a small sample of 24 plate appearances. His career batting line is a much more modest .203/.267/.316, leading to a 61 wRC+. It’s somewhat similar for Thaiss, who is slashing .207/.343/.379 this year for a 108 wRC+ but his .205/.304/.374 career slash translates to an 84 wRC+.
Sanchez has struggled in recent years and so far this season but was once one of the most potent backstops in the game. From 2016 to 2019, he hit 105 home runs and produced a line of .247/.328/.518 and a 123 wRC+. Unfortunately, his 25.2% strikeout rate in that time spiked to 29.5% in the 2020-2022 stretch. He still hit 49 home runs but his diminished .195/.287/.394 line amounted to a wRC+ of just 90 in that time. He’s long received shaky reviews for his defense but he was considered above average by Defensive Runs Saved last year in addition to getting strong marks for his framing from both FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.
Neither Thaiss nor Wallach can be optioned, so the Halos would likely be looking at cutting one of them if they gave a spot to Sanchez. But since he had to settle for a minor league deal last time he was on the market and didn’t perform especially well, he might be looking at another minor deal this time around unless injuries around the league have expanded the demand.