Cubs’ signing of Sanchez another low-risk, high-upside move


Apr 5, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher

Jonathan Sanchez

(57) in the first inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Cubs have signed left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to an incentive-laden minor league deal.

An earlier report that we passed along indicated that the team could use Sanchez as another left-handed arm out of the bullpen given that during his career, lefties have hit just .218/.313/.363 against him – including a .215/.276/.418 mark last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.

With Triple-A Albuquerque, Sanchez struggled, posting a 5.13 ERA in 66 2/3 innings of work after being let go by the Pirates early in the season.

His best season came in 2010 with the World Champion Giants, when the southpaw went 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 34 starts. He notched 205 strikeouts in just 193 1/3 innings of work for San Francisco that season.

Chicago has now added a pair of left-handed relievers – Sanchez and their first addition of the offseason, Wesley Wright. The team also signed former Astros closer Jose Veras to a one-year, $4 million deal yesterday, solidifying a bullpen that was one of the league’s worst in 2013.

In making an array of low-risk, high-upside moves, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have quietly improved one of the weakest areas of the team – a bullpen that was seemingly incapable of protecting leads. While the team is rumored to be in on Masahiro Tanaka – should he be posted – no other significant pieces have been added this offseason.

The Cubs have also added outfielder Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Kalish – adding depth to the team’s outfield.