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jonathan sanchezThere are guys that you’d see your favorite team sign to a deal, and it would make you roll your eyes (if you’re kind) or type obscenities (if you’re not) or flail your arms (if you’re weird).

But if your team signs that very same guy to a minor league deal, it can actually make you smile.

So it is for me with lefty Jonathan Sanchez, an erstwhile starter who, to be quite candid, was not a hugely effective starter in his best days, and has not seen his best days in several years. According to Paul Sullivan, the Cubs have signed Sanchez to a minor league deal, which, for the meatballs among you, should be read as: no risk deal with no meaningful downside whatsoever. Sullivan adds that Sanchez’s deal has some special incentives if he actually makes the big league roster. We’ll see Sanchez in Spring Training.

The Cubs’ interest in Sanchez was reported last week, by Sullivan’s colleague Mark Gonzales, who said the Cubs were considering Sanchez as a reliever, and I offered some thoughts:

What’s the point of even consider guys like this? Well, you never know where a successful, low-leverage, short-outing reliever might come from. Despite their obvious shortcomings, each of [Clayton] Richard and Sanchez had, at one time, big league-calibre stuff. And then you consider that lefties have hit just .240/.290/.321 off of Richard for his career (3.27 K/BB), and lefties have hit just .218/.313/.363 of off Sanchez (2.66 K/BB), and you see why it’s worth giving guys like that a shot.

Although Sanchez’s sample in 2013 is too small to draw any meaningful conclusions, it’s worth pointing out that, even in his abysmal 2012 season, lefties put up an OPS nearly 200 points worse than righties (of course, that figure .857, was still pretty awful). A split like that, on a guy who was at one time a big league capable starter, and you have the makings of a surprisingly effective LOOGY (lefty one-out guy – otherwise known as a lefty specialist, or a dude whom you bring in just to face a lefty batter).

Sanchez, 31, has lost a couple MPH off of his fastball from his most effective days (92 down to 90ish), so I wonder if he could turn it back up in short bursts of relief.

To be sure, Sanchez is just a guy among many who is going to get a look in Spring Training, if he does show some effectiveness as a LOOGY, the Cubs will have an interesting decision to make about the composition of their bullpen. With James Russell and Wesley Wright already in the fold as lefties, and with five other spots to be divvied up among guys like Sanchez, Jose Veras, Blake Parker, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carlos Villanueva, Zac Rosscup, Brooks Raley, Alberto Cabrera, and I could go on with a couple more young arms. The point? If the Cubs are going to carry Sanchez, it’s because there was a rash of injuries or a trade or two. Sanchez showing effectiveness could allow the Cubs flexibility in shopping Russell, for example.

  • Fishin Phil

    Commencing Arm Flailing.

    Just kidding, I’m fine with this signing. There should be some interesting competitions in AZ this spring.

  • cub2014

    brett,
    is dolis still with the cubs?

  • baldtaxguy

    Meatballs….heh.

    Like this signing. The consistent attention to the bullpen is interesting. Can only help a below average offense.

  • WKRP in Cincinnatus
  • Steele

    I like this signing. Low risk, high reward man. Didn’t he once throw a no hitter or perfect game for the Giants? Hopefully he can regain his old form with Bosio

  • Patrick G

    Look how the Pirates benefited from Liriano who was getting roughed up on the White Sox. Not saying he’ll become an all-star pitcher, but is a low risk for a high reward

  • Jon

    If you throw enough poop at the wall, some of it is bound to stick.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Why would you want poop stuck to your walls?

      • ssckelley

        Or why would you want to pick up poop to throw it?

      • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

        Obviously to teach your parents a lesson for hiring a fake “future you”. Geez, Brett, watch a South Park every once-in-a-while.

      • Coop

        If only we could identify the meatballs to whom you made reference…

    • Chef Brian

      Here come the meatballs with a side of wine (whine) sauce to pout and hold their breath because the Cubs have done another minor league deal.

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  • Deez

    We’re starting to look like the Island of Misfit Toys.

    • Noah_I

      If you look at any team’s group of players who were signed to minor league deals with spring training invites, it looks like the Island of Misfit Toys.

    • Sarah

      ‘Tis the season

  • KC Cubs Fan

    I don’t see how anyone could not like this signing. There is absolutely no risk and quite a bit of upside with possibilities between short relieve and if he ever gets his walks under control possibly spot starting (also depending on how his arm is).

    I live in KC where he was horrible but there was obviously something wrong with his arm but it is KC and they kept throwing him out there to get their money’s worth. Glad they did because they got Guthrie for him. With that said, I would have to disagree with the thought that he was never a very good starter to begin with though. You don’t find too many mediocre pictures that average more than 9 K’s per 9 innings and less than 9 hits per nine as a career starter, control is his issue. You are talking about someone coming into his prime in 2010 who was 13-9 with a 3.09 era and only 6.6 H/9 and 9.5 SO/9. He just turned 31 and doesn’t have that many innings on his arm, so I would have to say this is a little better pick up than just throwing poop on the wall (that is assuming the Cubs have cleared him of any arm issues). Unfortunately for us Cubs fans, this is probably the best pick up the Cubs have made so far this year.

    • Noah_I

      I think people are overstating the upside here. There is literally no downside, so I’m perfectly fine with this move, but at most Sanchez is a LOOGY at this point in his career. If he’s a great LOOGY, he might be worth 1 WAR. It’s a fine move, but it’s not a great move or even really a “good” one.

      • Chef Brian

        Thanks for tempering everyone’s enthusiasm. It’s important to have people like you to point out the obvious, since out of the dozen or so comments everyone was breaking their limbs high fiving and racing out the door to scream, “Sanchez!” In the streets. Sarcasm aside, I think everyone knows the caliber of signing this is.

        • hansman

          I would type a lengthy response agreeing with you but I have two broken arms from vigorously high-fiving others.

          • BWA

            Thanks for the laugh, hansman!

          • Chef Brian

            SANCHEZ!!!! ;)

  • MattM

    This is one of those deals I LOVE! If they can get him turned around his upside is EASILY better than Travis Wood! This guy was a stud when he was good!

    Sometimes it just takes the right team. Look at Bartolo Colon a couple of years ago. I guarantee all of you that Oakland fans were talking crap on that deal. Think about how much value Oakland got from him.

    In my opinion this is the same situation. This could turn out to be Theo’s Chicago Cubs David Ortiz deal. I know it seems like I’m exagerating but this could seriously be great.

    If I remember correctly the Giants had Sanchez ranked above Baumgardner until that last season. If you are ranked above Baumgardner you are good my friend!

    • http://BN Sacko

      Comparing a David Ortiz deal, thats a little extreme isn’t it?

    • C. Steadman

      i dont think “stud” was the correct term for Sanchez…

  • PRcajun

    I’m rooting for Sanchez. He’s from my home town and at the very least he has to feel like he has something to prove or else he’ll find himself out of MLB soon.

    Here’s hoping he can find some magic with Bosio and the rest of the staff.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Anybody know what happened to a very hard throwing relief pitcher who had control problems. We pick him up on a DFA awhile ago..wasn’t that a Sanchez also?

    • C. Steadman

      Henry Rodriguez? from the Nats?

      • http://BN Sacko

        That might be..threw somewhere around 100 but couldn’t hit the ocean. Do we still have him?

        • C. Steadman

          I think he might be a free agent…he’s playing in a Caribbean Winter league but in the parent club column, there’s a blank for him while there are multiple CHC including Rondon…

          http://www.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=l135&t=t_ros&cid=695

          • http://BN Sacko

            I’m sure it wasn’t Rondon..I think we even DFA him and brought him back on a MiLdeal

            • C. Steadman

              no it was Henry Rodriguez….i’m just saying when you click the link to the roster, Hector Rondon has a CHC next to parent club while Henry Rodriguez doesnt have a team in the MLB Parent Club column leading me to think he is a free agent now…he isnt listed on the Iowa Cubs roster

              • http://BN Sacko

                That would make sense as I could’t find him in MiLeagues either.

                • C. Steadman

                  i would like the Cubs to sign him to a minor league deal…love the potential if he can figure out his control

                  • DarthHater

                    Yea, I always like pitchers who terrify everyone in the same zip code. :-D

                    • C. Steadman

                      hahahahahaha :P

                • http://BN Sacko

                  thanks for replies

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Henry Rodriguez is, as far as we know, presently a free agent.

  • Fastball

    I hope he does well enough to keep in Iowa out of ST. Let him work on coming out of the pen down there for a while. It’s typically not long into a Cubs season before the daily shuttle flight to and from Iowa has a full of Cubs players. We are pretty busy with guys on DL doing rehab and callups etc etc.

  • danahoo.com

    This may not sound like a smart question but since I was always told there is no dumb question what is a Loogy?

    • bbmoney

      Lefty One Out GuY

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No dumb questions, ever. Just as an FYI – it’s in the post, though.

      • Patrick W.

        What about dumb answers? :)

        • Fishin Phil

          Those exist.

          • DarthHater

            For example: Loogy: A huge glob of spit.

  • danahoo.com

    Thanks

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  • Bfox75

    Eduardo Sanchez

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