KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore has signed former major-league pitchers Jonathan Sanchez and Bobby Parnell to minor-league deals on Saturday. Merry Christmas to Sanchez and Parnell!
The Kansas City Royals are back prospecting for value among players on the comeback trail. Jonathan Sanchez and Bobby Parnell haven’t pitched in major league baseball for numerous seasons. Sanchez’s last big league appearance came in 2013 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Parnell last pitched for Detroit in 2016, but hasn’t been effective since saving 22 games for the Mets in 2013.
Sanchez famously failed with the Kansas City Royals after Dayton Moore dealt Melky Cabrera to the Giants in return for the lefty starter before the 2012 season. However, Moore flipped Sanchez to the Rockies in return for a rather effective Jeremy Guthrie close to the 2012 trade deadline. Guthrie gave Kansas City two more league-average seasons in 2013 and 2014 after re-signing with KC following 2012.
Sanchez hasn’t had any real value since his 13-9, 3.07 ERA season for the Giants in 2010.
I can’t imagine that the KC Royals have any real EXPECTATIONS that either will succeed. They’re more minor-league depth guys with hope of upside. I also can’t imagine that Dayton Moore believes Sanchez can contest for the no. 5 starting role in 2017. Instead, I see both Parnell and Sanchez as long-shots to bolster the bullpen.
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Moore’s long track record of success with signing apparently washed-up major leaguers to minor-league deals and finding use for them in his Kansas City bullpen keeps me from totally dismissing these guys as useless camp fodder. Perhaps that’s all they’ll end up becoming. But, Parnell especially, could become the next Ryan Madson. Madson helped the Kansas City Royals bullpen not miss a beat after closer Greg Holland tore his UCL in September of 2015.
Blanton is a former starter who missed two full seasons before his rebirth as an outstanding setup man the last two seasons. He delivered most of his value for the Pirates and Dodgers, but it was Kansas City that gave him the opportunity. Perhaps Moore can find similar value in Sanchez.
The Kansas City Royals scouting staff must have seen something they liked in workouts from both players. While it’s unlikely either proves significant in 2017, don’t just write off the possibility.