Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Sanchez Decision Signals Win Now Mentality


Toronto Blue Jays: Aaron Sanchez Decision Signals Win Now Mentality

Jun 5, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays opening pitcher Aaron Sanchez (41) pitches in second inning against Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

When Aaron Sanchez had his start pushed back on June 9th by the Toronto Blue Jays, it was not seen as a major cause for concern. That was until the decision to put him on the 15 day disabled-list on June 14th.

Now, near the end of July, Sanchez looks like he is ready to return to the rotat…..bullpen. This move does not come as a big surprise to Blue Jays fans – what it does instead is reconfirm the team’s desire to compete now, by putting one of their strongest arms in the back end of the bullpen.

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Manager John Gibbons eluded to the struggles the bullpen have gone through late in games as the deciding factor to have the 23 year-old return as a reliever. This is despite him coming out of spring training as a member of the rotation.

However, with the issues of late inning relievers Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup and at times Steve Delabar, the need for a late inning reliever had to be addressed. The best way to do this was to put Sanchez in that role.

Loup, Cecil and Dolabar have combined to convert just six of 15 save opportunities, which has hurt the Blue Jays chances in the AL East. Having Bo Schultz, Roberto Osuna and Sanchez available in late inning situations, will allow Cecil and Loup to come in as situational relievers (most likely against lefties).

May 8, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez (left) and pitcher

Mark Buehrle

(center) and catcher

Russell Martin

(right) celebrate a win over the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Boston 7-0. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The other reason why this decision was probably made, may have something to do with the recent trade rumours surrounding the team, with the majority of them involving starting pitching. The Blue Jays have been looking at options to help the rotation, and there was a chance that Sanchez could come back to be the fifth starter.

Mark Buehrle, Marco Estrada and Drew Hutchison (when he starts at home) have had dominant outings, which have kept the Blue Jays in the mix. However, Hutchison and R.A. Dickey on the road and the lack of a true fifth starter, has made the need to improve the rotation a top priority for GM Alex Anthopoulos.

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Before the All Star Game. I wrote about how the Blue Jays needed to make a deal sooner rather than later. However, if that means giving up young pitchers like Daniel Norris, Marcus Stroman, Jeff Hoffman or Sanchez, is it worth it?

Probably not. But if the team can somehow get a pitcher that will be with the team beyond this season and can make a fair deal, then it should be considered.

There have been complaints regarding flip flopping Sanchez from the bullpen and the rotation. However, at this point it might be best to revisit the possibility of him in the rotation next season, especially if Buehrle and Dickey do not return.

Sanchez was dynamic when he pitched out of the bullpen last season, and if this happens again, then he would return as a starter. However, he did struggle with pitch location, so it could benefit the young pitcher to regain his dominance like he did late last season.

Gibbons and Anthopoulos are at a point where their jobs are not guaranteed for next season. They will try their best to ensure this team is put in a position to be in contention for the AL East crown.

Unfortunately for Sanchez his hope to be a starter this season is unlikely, although if he can be a difference maker in the bullpen, expect him to get another shot in the rotation next season.  However, if the team is unable to acquire a starting pitcher, then the Blue Jays may regret not putting him straight back into the rotation.

Next: Papelbon sees an ideal fit in Toronto