Jonathan Sanchez Will Open the Season as the Fourth Starter

Jonathan Sanchez will open the year as the fourth starter.

Jonathan Sanchez will open the year as the fourth starter.

Today was the deadline for the Pittsburgh Pirates to make a decision on left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. Early this morning Sanchez and his agent met in Clint Hurdle’s office with Hurdle and Neal Huntington. The Pirates decided to add Sanchez to the roster, giving him the fourth spot in the rotation.

“We’ve had some very good competition this Spring. All four guys have thrown the ball well at times, some better than others,” Neal Huntington said of the guys who were competing for a rotation spot. “And all four guys have had their struggles, some worse than others. Jonathan’s last two starts have been very encouraging. The off-speed pitches have been very effective. The fastball command has been enough.”

Sanchez is coming off a down season in 2012. He dealt with some injuries throughout the year, and saw his control numbers take a dive, with his overall numbers also taking a hit. That was a big change from the 2009-2011 seasons, where his numbers were respectable.

“As we look to what we’ve seen here in Spring Training, [Sanchez is] much closer to the guy in 2011 and 2010, than certainly the guy who struggled in 2012,” Huntington said. “He had a tough year a year ago. He’s moved beyond it at least from what we’ve seen in Spring Training. The three pitches are playing well. He’s pounding the zone. In our minds he’s got weapons that gives us reasons to think he can get major league hitters out on a consistent basis.”

Sanchez was a non-roster invitee, and an Article XX-B free agent. That latter designation means that the Pirates had to make a decision on him by today, pay a $100,000 roster retention bonus in order to keep him, or release him at his request. They only had to commit a roster spot to him today. Since they committed that spot, the Pirates don’t have to pay the retention bonus. They also don’t have to make a corresponding move on the 40-man roster until the final rosters are submitted, which gives some time to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • kidic56

    I figured this would happen, with the troubles McPherson’s been having this spring.

  • https://profiles.google.com/108131345424220632461 John DiVito

    Yipee?

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 jlease717

    I feel a lot better about this than broken down Inge.

    Inge though does beef up the all time Pirate list of guys with a last name starting with I. In fact, this is the golden age, seeing that Izturis wasn’t that long ago.

  • capirate

    I’m OK with Sanchez – he at least has some upside.

  • Y2JGQ2

    Can someone explain to me what Inge has done over the past two years in the ML OR in Spring training to win this job? Anyone…..? He literally couldn’t have played any worse

    • emjayinTN

      Y2: A RH hitting 3B who had 14 doubles and 12 HR’s last year. As a clutch hitter, his OPS with 2 outs and a runner in scoring position was .973 – Avg of .304/.407 OBP/.566 Slg. Nice to have a pinch hitter like that. Of the 14/12 doubles/HR last year, 12/11 came in the first 4 months of the year. I guess my question would be do we think Josh Harrison can do better? McDonald covers the middle infield, and Inge is a hard-nosed former Catcher who is a great influence in the clubhouse. Hurdle is looking for guidance from both of these veterans.