If you thought the first four pitchers listed have had it rough in recent seasons, Anibal Sanchez takes the buy-low cake. To reiterate, nobody should be excited if Sanchez signs with the Kansas City Royals. He has been on a quick decline since hitting 30, but Sanchez represents the sort of no-risk move Dayton Moore could make it hopes of bringing in some competition — at the very least for spring training.
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It’s quite stunning how far Sanchez, now 33, has fallen since his incredible 2013 season when he finished fourth in Cy Young voting. The right-hander went 14-8 while leading the league in ERA (2.57), FIP (2.39), ERA+ (162) and lowest home run rate (0.4).
He regressed to the mean the following year with an 8-5 mark and 3.43 ERA. Then came a 10-10 campaign with an unsightly 4.99 ERA. It’s somehow only gotten worse from there. In 2016, Sanchez finished 7-13 with a 5.87 ERA. Last year? A 3-7 record and 6.41 ERA. He allowed an average of 2.2 home runs per nine innings. That’s almost hard to fathom.
However, it wasn’t all bad. He stuck out 8.9 batters per nine innings, while walking just 2.5. The strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.59:1 was the third best of his career. According to the aforementioned MLB Trade Rumors article, Sanchez had the lowest walk rate and sixth-highest strikeout rate of the free agent starting pitchers available this winter.
Sanchez will be pitching somewhere in 2018, as will the other players mentioned in this article. It could be with the Kansas City Royals. That doesn’t mean it’s a smart decision for the organization, but a move to bring in one of these low-risk options would fit the organization’s longstanding model.