While the Pittsburgh Pirates and Francisco Liriano wait for their contract saga to get straightened out, it looks as if the Bucs are turning their attention to another southpaw.
It is being reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the Bucs and left-hander Jonathan Sanchez are close to a deal.
Jonathan Sanchez is close to a deal with the #pirates. word is, he’s healthy and worked all winter on mechanics.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 4, 2013
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review confirms that the Pirates are close to a minor league deal with Sanchez, which is something that Liriano doesn’t appear interested in right now.
Sanchez makes sense as a low-risk investment, however, given his success from 2009-11, helping the San Francisco Giants win a World Series, but he was even more of a mess than Liriano last season, so he will be a huge project for Pirates’ pitching coach Ray Searage.
The 30-year old was traded to the Royals last season for Melky Cabrera and totally imploded.
Sanchez had a 7.76 ERA and walked 44 batters in 53.1 innings for the Royals before being designated for assignment. and traded to the Colorado Rockies where he didn’t fare much better there, allowing 12 earned runs and walking nine batters in just 11.1 innings.
His combined 8.07 ERA was the highest in the majors since 2008 (min. 60 innings pitched) while his 2.29 WHIP was the highest in the majors since 2000.
Heyman did report that Sanchez, who didn’t make a start since August 3 due to left biceps tendinitis, is healthy and has worked all winter on his mechanics.
It’s the low-risk, high-reward type of move that Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington is known for. Sanchez likely will get the opportunity to compete for the No. 5 spot in the rotation with Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson.
This also could mean that the Bucs are walking away from Liriano for good.