What About Anibal Sanchez

Most observers agree that the Rangers still need to fill one hole in their pitching staff, even with Jon Daniels recently announcing that Alexi Ogando has returned to the starting rotation (where he earned an All-Star appearance in 2011).  Zach Greinke is widely regarded as their primary target, though he will undoubtedly be very expensive to sign – especially considering the bidding war likely to ensue between the Rangers, Dodgers and Angels.
Several other pitchers are also frequently mentioned when discussing potential Ranger offseason acquisitions, such as Tampa Bay’s James Shields, Dan Haren of the Angels, and even former Texas hurler and recent Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who has reinvented himself as a knuckleballer with the Mets.  But one name almost never discussed in conjunction with the Rangers is the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.  My question is, “Why?”

First of all, he’s still just 28 (he’ll turn 29 at the start of Spring Training), so he’s still clearly in his prime.  In fact, he’s actually younger than Greinke.  Yes, he’s technically only a few months younger, but his “pitching odometer” has much lower mileage.  Greinke has thrown almost 10,000 more pitches (9,717, to be exact) than Sanchez over their respective major league careers.  This would seem to indicate Sanchez has quite a bit more “tread left on the tire” than Greinke.

Sanchez has also been quite consistent for most of his career, with his ERA for each of the past four seasons falling between 3.55 and 3.87, while his WHIP for each of the past three seasons has been between 1.27 and 1.34.  You might think Greinke’s career stats are far more impressive than those of Sanchez, but the career WHIP (1.35) and ERA (3.75) of Sanchez actually compare favorably to Greinke’s (1.25 and 3.77, respectively).

Perhaps most importantly of all, Greinke is going to cost significantly more than Sanchez.  Yes, the Rangers are now much better positioned than in the past to handle a big dollar contract like the one Greinke will command, but why pay more when you can get someone who produces relatively comparable results at a lower price?  Sanchez may not be the ace so many seem to think Greinke is, but with Yu Darvish giving every indication he is emerging as this team’s ace for many years to come, the Rangers really just need a solid #2 – and Sanchez fits that bill.

Bob Bland is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at Bob.Bland@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @SDIBob.

Bob Bland

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