We all had an idea this was going to happen.
After a truly miserable start increased his ERA to 7.76 in 53.1 innings, Jonathan Sanchez was designated for assignment this afternoon. The move opens a spot on the active and 40 man rosters.
Verdugo had a 3.58 ERA in 88 innings for Omaha and had been called up earlier this season, but didn’t make an appearance in a game before being sent back to Triple A. Poetically, Verdugo was the other part of the trade that sent Sanchez to Kansas City for Melky Cabrera last November. You can hear him talk about joining the Royals on the Royalman Report shortly after the trade.
The Royals also optioned outfielder Jason Bourgeois to Omaha. With Lorenzo Cain‘s return, Bourgeois was a redundant player. Cain has the speed and right-handed bat that Bourgeois had, and Jarrod Dyson is faster than both of them for late-inning pinch-running purposes. Vin Mazzaro was brought back up with the move. He had a 5.70 ERA in 30 innings. He’s been hit or miss as a starter with two starts of six scoreless innings, but three starts where he’s given up more than a run per inning.
The big move, though, is Sanchez’s designation for assignment. It’s a sign that the Royals knew they had to make the change – too often they’ll wait through while a pitcher tries to work things out, when it’s clearly not going to change anything. Kyle Davies comes to mind. The Royals have ten days to add Sanchez back to the roster, trade him or, if he clears waivers, assign him to the minors or release him outright. Unless they can find a trade partner willing to take on his remaining salary, the Royals will be on the hook for his full $5.6 million contract for 2012, minus the prorated minimum (if another team adds him after release). If he’s sent to the minors, he’ll still make the same amount.