Cubs Sign LHP Jonathan Sanchez to a Minor League Contract

According to a report from Paul Sullivan, the Cubs signed LHP Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league contract that should include a non-roster invite to Spring Training. Sullivan reported the deal includes incentives if he is added to the 40-man roster.

When news surfaced last Sunday the Cubs were targeting Jonathan Sanchez, the front office was believed to be looking at him as a reliever and not a starter.

Jonathan Sanchez was once one of the many young, promising arms in the Giants’ organization. Sanchez posted a 13-9 record in 34 games, 33 starts, with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP for the eventual World Champs in 2010. Sanchez had a miserable 2011 season after tossing a career-high 193 1/3 innings with 205 strikeouts the season before. Sanchez was dealt to the Royals following the 2011 campaign for Melky Cabrera and his career continued to spiral downward.

The Royals dealt Sanchez to the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie in July of 2012 then released him in the fall. Sanchez spent time in the Pirates and Dodgers organizations last season and pitched in five games for the Pirates (0-3 with an 11.85 ERA and a 2.41 WHIP).

Jonathan Sanchez is 3-2 in 57 career relief appearances with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Lefties have hit .218/.313/.363 against Sanchez in his career.

The Cubs are believed to be interested in signing LHP Clayton Richard as well and are thought to be looking at Richard more as a reliever than as a starter.

The Cubs have four left handed relievers on their 40-man roster (James Russell, Wesley Wright, Zac Rosscup and Brooks Raley) and have added two pitchers to the relief corps this winter in Wesley Wright and Jose Veras.

Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein said they were spending a lot of time on the bullpen during the Winter Meetings. And there is still an offer out to a free agent starting pitcher …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Remember, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday." - Dale Carnegie

Share on Fancred
  • triple

    I like this signing. Very low cost w/ a minor league contract, The way I see it, Sanchez has about 6 or 7 weeks to work with Bosio in Mesa and get this thing figured out and earn extra incentives for being added to the 40-man (or maybe even 25-man) roster. At the least, he can prove to be a serviceable lefty specialist, which would really make James Russell even more expendable. If Bosio can really fix this guy, maybe we have a dependable middle reliever, or dare I say LH starter!

    As far as the work the FO is doing to rebuild the bullpen, I have no worries that guys they bring in will continue to help this team be better in the short-term while they keep their eyes down the road. After the 2012 season, they saw the glaring weakness in our rotation after the trades were made so they invested in more depth for the rotation so it wouldn’t be as barren after the trade deadline. I don’t doubt that our rotation will be set up the same way this year with enough depth for after the fire sale. But now I see them trying to do the same for our bullpen. I have no worries that this will strengthen our entire pitching staff for 2014, and more importantly, beyond.

    Am I saying we will have an amazing staff from top to bottom? No, in fact if we have two pitchers that are considered amazing at all, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m just saying that we will see the entire pitching staff trend towards a positive direction that will put us in better position for the future. Guys like Villanueva, Russell, Vera, Wright, Sanchez, and maybe even Samardzija can be flipped for future pieces while guys like Wood, Rusin, Rondon, Parker, Arrieta, Strop, Grimm, Rosscup, and Raley have the opportunity to prove their worth for the future. If enough of these guys do solid jobs, that could leave the Cubs in a position where the FO can concentrate on bringing in higher end talent for the 2015 season.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I like it too. Typical Theo, nothing to lose and lot’s to gain…

      • cubtex

        too typical these days :) We have signed a truck load of nothing to lose guys.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Some have worked out splendidly though. I would continue to sign these buy low deals all day long…

          • cubtex

            It goes to show you how far away the Cubs really are. To sign the Casper Wells, Darnell MacDonald,Ryan Kalish, Chris Valaika,Eli Whiteside,John Baker, I am sure I forgot several more :) but it shows how far away Theo thinks our outfield prospects are as well as lack of catching depth. He needs to shore up those areas by trading for other teams prospects like the White Sox have done.

          • paulcatanese

            Yep, lots of quantity very little quality on these signings. All this activity only puts the boo birds off for a while.

          • cubtex

            Are they going to fill the outfield with these type of players until Almora and Soler are ready? What if they have an injury and setback or they struggle on promotions and take a 3 or 4 year path. It is very possible. Even if they move Kris Bryant to an outfield spot….they have room for at least one long term guy there.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, and I wonder how much all of these “fly by night” signings over the last two years have cost? As you, I think one or two long term players would have benefit the Cubs more.

          • cubtex

            Exactly. Lets add up the waste from last year. 19 mil for EJax(please!) 5.5 mil for Scott Baker. 2 mil for Ian Stewart. 4.5 mil for Fujikawa. 31 million paid to those players last year.

          • Scott

            Wouldn’t Theo’s reluctance to sign a bunch of bigger names for the outfield indicate he believes our prospects are not far away from contributing? So there would be no need to drop a lot of money and years on someone only to have them blocking a player when they are ready?

          • cubtex

            How many years do you believe Almora is away? I believe it is definately more than 1 1/2 or 2. Agreed? How many for Soler? I would say at least the same as Almora. Agreed? Best case scenario is 1 1/2 years. So…you won’t add a quality outfielder for a year and a half? Makes no sense.

          • Eugene Debs

            At least another year. Thing is, he’s having trouble staying healthy already. Hopefully not a sign of things to come, but not getting good players now because you are waiting on Almora is not a good strategy.

          • Eugene Debs

            Maybe. It’s just as likely to be a sign that the Cubs are in way too much debt and have no cash.

          • paCubsFan23

            I believe Theo thinks Bryant will ultimately end up as a corner outfielder, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he fought his way into the lineup sometime this summer.

          • cubtex

            I feel as if they think he can be an average 3rd baseman and a lot depends on what happens with Olt and Baez.

          • cubtex

            Forgot Aaron Cunningham and Thomas Neal. Iowa’s outfield will be filled with these players and the major league outfield will only have Junior Lake who is a young potential long term player. This is what I am talking about Rider. Improve the MLB roster. There is plenty of room in the outfield for a long term player instead of these Sweeney’s,Ruggiano’s,Schierholtz
            types!

          • 07GreyDigger

            Look at minor league transactions, every team does this every year. They should be making more moves to improve the MLB team, but unfortunately, they don’t have enough to give up and trade like the White Sox did without weakening the team.

            White Sox could trade Reed, because they have other young bullpen arms to take his place. They could trade Santiago, because they add other young rotation arms. That’s the issue here and that’s why they haven’t done anything. Who are they going to replace these guys with? That’s why they’re building up the farm system. So they can make those moves. And they will. Look at Theo’s track record.

          • cubtex

            track record for what? He has never ever done a rebuild. The farm system he took over in Boston was already pretty good. His track record for drafting pitchers is below average. His track record for buying free agents is awful. What is this track record you speak of?

          • 07GreyDigger

            How about the track record of trading prospects for solid major league players?

            In his tenure, he acquired, Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Adrian Gonzalez for prospects.

            And a poor drafter of pitchers? He drafted Jonathan Papelbon and Clay Buchholz. Not to mention Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Justin Masterson and Jed Lowrie. All solid major league regulars. You are right sir. The man is an awful GM with no track record to speak of.

          • cubtex

            any gm for 10 years will have some. Do you want me to mention some of Hendry’s?
            Hee Seop Choi for D Lee
            Bobby Hill for ARAM?

            He has never rebuilt a team and he is not impressing me with this one…I can tell you that.

          • 07GreyDigger

            No one was impressed with a lot of GM’s rebuildings until they started to work out. Andrew Freidman and Neil Huntington come to mind.

      • Eugene Debs

        For a team with so many “nothing to lose guys,” we sure lose a lot of games.

    • 07GreyDigger

      You make a great point here. 2012, the FO saw the rotation needed help, so for 2013 they made it a priority. Last season, the bullpen stunk and it’s been a priority. Now if only they can work on our offense a little more….

      • paulcatanese

        Good point, the offense, Cubs could have the best closer’s in MLB, but if they cannot score runs, it’s a moot point to have closer’s.

      • triple

        I believe that since the Cubs actually have some good bats that will be coming up soon that that’s why they are concentrating on the pitching staff.

        Also, there are more younger players that will be available for 2015 free agency (barring the signing of some extensions), compared to this years FA market. Guys like Pablo Sandoval and Colby Rasmus will both only be 28. Depending on the defensive flexibility of Bryant and Baez, maybe the Cubs can make a play for Sandoval or Rasmus, or even Hanley Ramirez or Chase Headley (both who will be 31), but hopefully for a shorter contract.

        Some pitchers who may be available in 2015 free agency that should be worth a contract: Scherzer, Lester, Justin Masterson, and Homer Bailey. If the Cubs finally should have some of the ballpark changes and selling more advertising by then, I could see them going for one or 2 of these guys, depending on the outcome of the Tanaka fiasco, as well as Samarzdija’s wearabouts. Just imagine if our rotation for 2015 could be something like Scherzer, Bailey, Samardzija, Wood, Jackson. Or depending on how Kyle Hendricks turns out, maybe replace Jackson’s name. By the end of the 2015 season, maybe the Cubs will be trading Wood, and have an open spot for Edwards, or one of the other young pitchers in their system.

        I don’t see why this team couldn’t be competitive with the right moves that could be made next offseason. The names that could be available for position players and pitchers will still have more good years ahead of them than FA’s available this year.

        • 07GreyDigger

          Very good observations Triple. Although I don’t want Chase Headley anywhere near this team. Too inconsistent.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Sanchez wasn’t stellar in AAA last year:
    66 IP…72 H, 42 BB, 12 HR allowed, 1.710 WHIP.

    He’s a flyball pitcher. 51% of his offerings are hit for FBs, some over the fence.
    He walks so many batters. I just don’t have so much hope for him to make it
    to Wrigley this summer.

    • J Daniel

      I would agree but this really does not cost anything at all and is worth the flier. Some pitching coaches are able to work “miracles” and maybe Bosio is one of those guys. He has done pretty well so far just not to the same level as Dave Duncan. His guys stayed and became really good in St. Louis.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Dave Duncan was truly an elite pitching coach. Perhaps Don Cooper
        of the White Sox is a step behind him.

        • Ripsnorter1

          And yes, it didn’t hurt to sign him to a MiL contract. Don’t need him on the 40 man
          right now.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Going to have to play lots of “B” games in spring training to get a gauge on all these pitchers.

  • Eugene Debs

    Move along, nothing to see here.

  • Pingback: Cubs Sign OF Mitch Maier to Minor League Contract, Confirm Signings of Wada and Sanchez - Chicago Cubs Online()