John Autey/Associated Press
The Minnesota Twins added a veteran presence looking to rediscover his old form to the starting rotation Friday.
FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the Twins and pitcher Anibal Sanchez reached a deal.
Heyman added Sanchez’s deal is for $2.5 million with another $2.5 million in incentives.
Sanchez previously pitched for the then-Florida Marlins during the first six full seasons of his career before they traded him to the Detroit Tigers in 2012. He wasted little time making an impression for the Tigers when he led the American League with a 2.57 ERA in 2013.
It was the fifth year in a row he finished with a sub-4.00 ERA, and he followed up with a 3.43 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 2014.
However, his numbers have taken a turn for the worst since that season. He posted a 4.99 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 2015, 5.87 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 2016 and a career-worst 6.41 ERA and 1.59 WHIP last year. What’s more, he struck out 202 batters twice during his prime (2011 and 2013) but fanned just 104 in 2017.
Sanchez will be 34 years old throughout the 2018 campaign, and it’s not much of a stretch to suggest his best days are far behind him given his recent showings.
He does have seven postseason appearances on his resume with a sparkling 2.79 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in those pressure-packed environments. In the best-case scenario, Sanchez can serve as a veteran leader and experienced playoff performer for the Twins as they make a push toward October in 2018.
The worst-case scenario would be Sanchez continuing his downward trajectory as he gets older.
The Twins’ need for starting pitching increased exponentially after Ervin Santana had surgery on his finger earlier this month that could keep him out until May.
Sanchez is on the downside of his career, but going to a big ballpark with an outstanding defense behind him could be the formula that gets him back on track.