Holiday Mailbag: Freddy SanchezBy
Two people asked: What about Freddy Sanchez?
Sanchez, 35, played zero big league games this past season due to shoulder surgery (labrum) and back surgery (herniated disc). He was rehabbing from the shoulder procedure when the back problem popped up in July, which led to the Giants acquiring Marco Scutaro prior to the trade deadline. That worked out pretty well for San Francisco.
Prior to the injuries, Sanchez was a classic low-power, contact-oriented middle infielder. He won the 2006 batting title with the Pirates and hit .291/.338/.397 (104 wRC+) in 740 plate appearances with the Giants from 2010-2011. Sanchez will put the ball in play from the right side of the plate (13.9 K% and 84.7% contact rate), but he won’t walk (6.1 BB%), won’t hit for power (.106 ISO and 5.2% HR/FB), and won’t steal any bases (13-for-22 career). He did most of his recent damage against lefties (122 wRC+ from 2010-2011) rather than righties (98 wRC+), though it wasn’t a massive split.
Defensively, Sanchez has been a second baseman exclusively since 2008. He has less than 1,350 innings of experience at third as a big leaguer and just 351 innings at shortstop, all of which came more than a half-decade ago. The various metrics have consistently rated him as an above-average defender at second through the years. The surgery was on his right shoulder, so it’s unclear if Sanchez still has the arm strength to make the throw from the left side of the infield. I’m not saying he can’t do it, but he has to prove he can before a team could seriously consider him a utility infielder.
Sanchez’s agent recently told Derrick Goold that his client is healthy and looking for an opportunity to prove himself this coming season. Several unknown teams have expressed interest, though none have made offers. The Yankees have Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez in-house, both of whom are able to play the left side of the infield (not necessarily well, but they can do it) and be something more than zeroes with the bat. Sanchez has to still prove he can do both of those things, which is why I think he’d look to join a team that offers more of an opportunity. If he wants to take a minor league deal and compete for a job, great. Otherwise the two sides don’t fit well with each other.