Are the Colorado Rockies one of the teams reportedly looking at veteran starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez, who missed all of 2020 with a shoulder injury?
Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeted on Tuesday that “multiple teams” have had veteran free agent pitcher Aaron Sanchez throw for them. Could that list include the Colorado Rockies?
Sanchez missed all of the 2020 season after undergoing right shoulder surgery after suffering a tear. The 28-year-old right-hander has started 96 of the 150 games he has taken the mound in his six-year big league career. That includes 27 starts split between the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros in 2019, where he compiled a 5-14 record, 5.89 ERA, 1.622 WHIP, and averaged giving up 9.9 hits per nine innings.
Those numbers were the highest-ever for Sanchez, who is averaging a 3.98 ERA, 1.363 WHIP, and 8.3 hits per nine innings in a career where he has thrown in all but four games for Toronto.
So could the Rockies be one of the teams looking at Sanchez? It’s certainly possible as it fits a pattern that has developed in recent months with the Rockies taking chances on reclamation projects on the mound. It worked well with Daniel Bard last season, but didn’t so much with A.J. Ramos and Jose Mujica.
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Morosi also mentioned in the tweet that Sanchez’s fastball is “averaging between 2,700 and 2,800 rpms.” As a note, the highest spin rate on a four-seam fastball last season was Trevor Bauer at 2,827 rpm. Yes, this feat from Sanchez would be impressive, but also take it with a grain of salt as the number was reported to Morosi by Sanchez’s agent, Scott Boras.
Additionally, Boras told Morosi that he expects Sanchez to be a starting pitcher in 2021 and not come out of the bullpen. That could be a plus for the Rockies who are looking to shore up the back end of their rotation and Sanchez fits the profile of a fourth or fifth starter.
Before his injury, Sanchez was reportedly throwing a curve that fit into the 91st percentile, so the spin rate has certainly shown itself in his previous work.
The Rockies signed Dereck Rodriguez to a deal earlier in the week with an invite to spring training, so it’s clear Colorado is already looking to see how it can improve its pitching depth. However, with Boras as an agent, would the asking price for Sanchez, who has totaled 8.9 bWAR in his career, be higher than what Colorado is willing to pay?
It’s very possible that Colorado may look at what Sanchez will bring, but decide (because of price or commitment terms) he isn’t a fit for them in 2021 and beyond.