The Pittsburgh Pirates have unconditionally released Tony Sanchez today, per a team press release. They designated him for assignment last week to make room for Neftali Feliz on the roster. The team had ten days to trade, waive, or release him, and didn’t use the full ten days.
It’s unclear whether they had to release him because he would have been eligible for minor league free agency this off-season, or if they just decided to part ways with him. Either way, he didn’t have a spot in the system. Elias Diaz moved past him on the depth charts last year, and Jacob Stallings will probably serve as the backup for Indianapolis this year, with Ed Easley as the number three catcher, and number five on the MLB depth chart.
Sanchez was out of options, and would have been designated for assignment by the end of Spring Training if this didn’t happen now. If they would have been able to keep him around, he would have been eligible for free agency following the 2016 season, and would have blocked Stallings in the process, with the latter having more of a long-term role in Pittsburgh.
The move today means the Pirates have zero players in the system from their 2009 draft. You can read my analysis on that here.