Are Sanchez and Schimpf Worth Their Salt?

Are Sanchez and Schimpf Worth Their Salt?

The city of Atlanta is hungry for another championship. The last time it happened was 1995 when the Braves won the World Series, but they won’t get back there if they keep signing mediocre players. Otherwise, the team is going to be mediocre. The Braves are supposed to be coming toward the end of their “rebuilding” mode and entering a time of success. Last year the Braves had a $126.1 million payroll and they didn’t do much with it. They got Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey; fan favorites but not always reliable. If they didn’t sign someone reliable or consistent when they had the money, what are they going to do when they don’t have as much money? Sign Anibal Sanchez and Ryan Schimpf. These two players fit the category of mediocracy.

On Friday, March 16, 2018, the Braves signed Anibal Sanchez to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Craig Calcaterra with Yahoo Sports described Sanchez and the deal with the Braves as “[He] is basically cannon fodder at this point in his career, but if the Braves are still a year or two away from true contention, there is value in signing cannon fodder.”

Anibal Sanchez Source: Wikimedia Commons

2017 was not Sanchez’s year. In 17 starts he went 3-7 with a 6.41 ERA. With such an awful year with Detroit, what can he bring to the Braves? We can only hope that a new team and a new city will be a fresh start for Sanchez. He is a more seasoned pitcher but will that translate on the field? In the past 5 years, Sanchez’s ERA has steadily increased each year. The last time he had a phenomenal year was back in 2013 when he led the American League with a 2.57 ERA with a 14-8 record in 29 starts.

He has pitched for the Marlins and the Tigers over the past 12 years. In 2012, Sanchez was acquired by Detroit from the Marlins. He played with the Marlins from 2006-2012, then spent the next 5 years with Detroit. Earlier this year he signed with the Twins before he was dropped from the team to make room for Lance Lynn.

In an interview with the AJC, Brian Snitker said, “We brought him in to get a look, see where he’s at…He’s a depth piece. I mean, who knows? He might make our club. We’ll evaluate. He’s in shape. “He’s a guy that knows how to pitch.”

Sanchez’s first start for the Braves in Spring Training was definitely different for him compared to the last few years. He pitched four innings, walked one and had two strikeouts. He did good and got the win. But this was only one game. You can’t judge a pitcher’s consistency off of one game. It would be nice if he did emerge as a dependent pitcher; to have someone as a back-up in case the starting rotation gets in trouble.

If Sanchez doesn’t pan out the way the Braves are hoping, then, unfortunately, he will be placed in the same boat as the rest of the “veterans.” He may have the experience, but he is past his prime and his past few years are proof of that. Sanchez is not the type of veteran the Braves need. It seems as if his only purpose right now is to be an example in the minors, with the possibility of being called up if someone gets hurt.

Ryan Schimpf Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ryan Schimpf is another guy that joins the club as a just-case player for the Braves. Schimpf was designated for assignment a few weeks back, to which, the Braves picked him up in exchange for cash. He spent the last two seasons with the Padres but was traded to the Rays in the off-season. The Rays dropped him from their roster after a very disappointing first half of spring training. Since moving to the Braves this spring, Schimpf is overall 0-30 with 19 strikeouts.

Last season when Schimpf played third base for the Padres, he did have some success with the bat getting 14 home runs but in 197 plate appearances, he had a .158 batting average with a .284 on-base percentage.

It seems that the reason the Braves picked him up is because of his connection to GM Alex Anthopoulos. When Schimpf was making his way through the Blue Jay’s farm system, Anthopoulos was the Jay’s GM, so familiarity seems to have influenced this player pick-up.

Snitker said, “[The acquisition] is attractive with options…He’s done some damage in a short period of time. So, we’ll see where he fits.”

Schimpf is not a player that can be relied upon with numbers like he has put up this Spring Training. He may have had a few homers here and there but overall his numbers and talent won’t benefit the Braves. Something is not meshing right with him and a bat. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is dropped again within the next month or so if he does not improve. Additionally, I don’t think there is a chance that he would ever be considered for the third base position with so many better third basemen like Johan Camargo or Austin Riley.

If a team is not going to spend the money to get someone good and that can benefit the team long term, then the organization needs to step back and evaluate. They then need to focus on developing the players they have and stop signing so many average players. Not every team can be an all-around All-Star team like the Astros or Dodgers but if they want success they need to not give every washed-up player a chance. The Braves won’t ever get to the Dodger-level of player success if they keep signing mediocre players like Sanchez and Schimpf. For now, let’s hope these two guys can make a positive statement for the team and sooner rather than later.

 

11 Comments

The purpose of The 2018 Season…is to prepare The Braves to be LEGIT/LONG TERM contenders starting in The 2019 Season. So many things are lining up towards that goal:

1. The progression of young players who ACTUALLY have potential to stick/be productive long term. Wisler and Blair not panning out in 2016 REALLY set The Braves Rebuild back a couple of years (Coppy spent money and tradeable prospects to acquire Garcia, Dickey and Colon to ‘shore up’ The Rotation during The 2016 Offseason. That $33 plus mil AND those prospects we sent to The Cardinals for Garcia could have been spent addressing the offense IF Wisler and Blair didnt SUCK). However, 2017 had Gohara, Newcomb and Minter show HELLA PROMISE (in addition to Albies at 2nd and Carmago being a younger/cheaper/Latin version of Ben Zobrist).

2. The Matt Kemp Trade accomplished several things that work towards the goal of competing in 2019: 1. clear Kemp’s payroll obligation from The 2019 payroll. 2. Acquired McCarthy and Kazmir for 2018 (giving The Braves 2 options for The Starting Rotation in 2018 while giving Soroka, Allard and Wright time to develop in Triple A/earn a promotion to Atlanta after The 2018 July Trade Deadline).

3. A number of bullpen arms that AA’s acquired since he took over for Coppy have potential to be cheap/cost controlled/effective. A season like 2018 (when The Braves are not expected to contend) is a great time for The Braves to figure out if these bullpen arms can be counted on for 2019.

4. Acuna’s ultimate destination, is the #2 slot of the order. However, what 2018 will provide..is an opportunity for Acuna to ‘start off in the #7 hole’ (because of the OUT OF DATE ‘he has to earn his way up the batting order/let’s not PISS OFF the veterans who are AT RISK of getting knocked out of their spot of the batting order due to Acuna’s presence’ thought process!). Instead of Albies, Acuna and Freeman being the top 3 from mid-April on…it will probably take AT LEAST after The ASB or The July Trade Deadline before Snitker has it ‘in him’ to trot that lineup out (while he musters up ‘the courage/foresight’ to drop Inciarte down in the batting order).

5. Once The 2018 Season ends, AA will decide to ‘go in a different direction’ and hire a manager to replace Snitker who can actually use/interpret stats when it comes to making the right decisions as a manager. As long as Snitker is the manager, The Braves are not putting forth their best team possible. However in a season like this, the amount of damage that Snitker can do..is mostly minimized.

Once The 2018 Season ends…A LOT of questions should be answered regarding what The Braves really have when it comes to our PLETHORA of young players earning their way onto the team. That..along with The Payroll Flexibility going into The 2018 Offseason….makes it pretty much A NO-BRAINER that the ducks are lining up for The 2019 Season to be The Beginning of something special LONG TERM!

The move to pick up Schimpf made sense to me, because at least it’s a gamble that would address a need if it pays off. The Braves lack power, and positional depth in their farm. So that’s where they oughta be taking flyers. They let some good opportunities slip through their hands there, though.

The Sanchez signing baffles me. You spend all this time accumulating SP depth as a club, and you go out and spend a million bucks on a largely terrible SP that the Twins didn’t even want anymore? I can’t get behind the “pitching depth” argument, either. They could’ve filled rotation spots with Blair, Wisler or Sims; and not had to rush Sororka, Wright or Allard.

King, I understand the Sanchez move. Essentially, a backup plan if Kazmir can’t go. Apparently, Kazmir’s throwing right now like his arm is a wet noodle. Either one of the two would be long relief/spot start. I think they looked at Blair and Sims and said “yuck”. Wisler may yet still get this spot in favor of either Kazmir or Sanchez.

With regards to the other comments, it looks like 2018 is going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some people don’t think the team will win so there’s no reason to try to win and then the team won’t win and they will sit back self-satisfied that they were right. That sentiment does not just apply to commenters here but also people in the front office. Like I have been saying, so far, AA is a big bust, a disaster of a do nothing GM. The only deals he makes are with his friends (Tor and LA) and he has done nothing outside of that to make the team better. Instead of spending a mil on Sanchez, he could have spent a mil on Jake Cave (or a DSL prospect). He could have pressed Moose for a one year deal at twice what he signed for with the Royals. He could have gone after Dickerson, who was cheap and controllable and will be needed next year when Markakis departs. It is worth trying to put forward at least a token effort to win this year. There’s an old saying: it takes money to make money. You can’t win unless you start winning. I, for one, believe that not winning this year (meaning not being above .500) ensures that next year’s winning will be limited.

As for the assertion that AA has acquired even interesting bullpen arms, I wholeheartedly disagree. Ravin, Dayton, Whitley are even worse fodder than Sanchez. All the best bullpen arms are/were already here. They needed to bring in a strong veteran (my choice would have been someone like Addison Reed) – someone who will keep the pen together when less experienced players struggle. AA even promised to do that and failed miserably. The only acquisition that appears to have a chance to pay off is Preston Tucker. I hope he (or Lane or Dustin) can push Markakis to the bench when Acuna arrives. I also hope that Sanchez/Kazmir will only be around long enough to let Fried settle in at AAA and get called up again.

I bristle at the idea that Garcia and Dickey were just “fodder” or unreliable. Both were solid middle of the rotation pieces for the Braves last year and the Braves were winning (i.e. around .500) with both of them in the rotation. Both of those (not including Bartolo) were solid moves that made the team better and gave them a chance to win more.

Winning teams have to add winning pieces and introduce new, young players regardless of the need to win. No matter who you add to the roster (e.g. Moustakas, Addison Reed, Todd Frazier, Corey Dickerson or the likes) there will always be a place for someone better – folks like Soroka, Allard, Riley, Jackson, etc… If you can find someone better to play RF and Markakis goes to the bench then both your fielded team and your bench are better. If Soroka comes in and takes Folty’s place and he goes to the bullpen then both the rotation and the bullpen are better. That’s how winning teams are built.

I can’t imagine a team or a front office or whatever saying “oh, we’re not going to win this year anyway so let’s just not even try”. That stains the whole game not just the one team.

Roger…what you dont seem to be able to COMPREHEND…is that trying to go out and win a Wild Card spot in 2018 (we ARE NOT winning this division over Washington)..is HELLA SHORT SIGHTED!

Sure, all the ‘moves’ that you listed you’d like to see The Braves make….in theory could have made The Braves ‘legit’ Wild Card contenders. However….those moves would have come at A COST: The Cost of DEVELOPING prospects at The MLB Level later this year!

Like it or not….for 2019 to be a year that we can COMPETE for a Division AND Playoff Success…it is ESSENTIAL that we 1. position ourselves to give Soroka, Allard AND Wright their ‘cups of coffee’ starts during the last 2 months of the season….which means that there WILL BE ‘growing pains’ during those starts for them (look at Gohara in his 5 starts at the end of 2017. Sure..he IMPRESSED. However the results were an ERA of almost 5 and a 1-3 record! While I’m confident that Gohara will pitch well upon his return in 2018….he NEEDED those ‘cups of coffee’s starts at the end of 2017).

The Braves lack a LEGIT, playoff caliber closer. Do you really think that Vizcaino is going to get 30-40 saves in 2018? Sure, Minter has ‘shutdown talent’…however he has a history of injuries (how many innings did he pitch in 2017 again?).

I could go ON AND ON about the number of question marks this team has. While there’s a decent chance that The Braves may be around .500 when The Trade Deadline approaches….if AA is worthy of having ‘complete control’ of The Braves when it comes to personnel decisions..it’s pretty much a NO-BRAINER that he has to be A SELLER at The Trade Deadline! That means McCarthy, Vizcaino, Kazmir…..possibly even Teheran (along with Markakis, IF someone will take him) all have TO GO if AA gets decent offers for them!

The ONLY WAY that The Braves will be able to afford/fit into their budget the prospect of signing Machado, Harper AND Kimbrel during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason…is if around 15 pre-arbitration players are slated to make SIGNIFICANT contributions in 2019 AND beyond! If AA did what you wanted him to do this year…..there will still be SIGNIFICANT QUESTIONS going into The 2019 Season (having Soroka, Allard and Wright make their MLB debuts in 2019….makes LITTLE SENSE).

I know..it SUCKS to have to endure another non-playoff year. However just take comfort that this will be THE LAST YEAR you’ll have to suffer. If AA pinches pennies during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason..then you can tell me that ‘you TOLD ME SO’! But remember this…I’ve been right about virtually everything this offseason!

Who was it that said that The Braves were in NO DANGER of losing anyone via The Rule 5 Draft?

Who was it that said that if The Braves do end up trading Kemp..that they WILL NOT be attaching any prospects to the trade?

Who said that The Braves SHOULD NOT sign Moustakis, Frazier OR any of the other high priced veterans on the market (that we should wait until The 2018 Free Agent Offseason)?

Who said that no matter what Acuna does in The Spring..that Acuna will open The 2018 Season in Triple A (I know, it was pretty much a no-brainer prediction..although a number were making the case that The Braves SHOULD put Acuna on The Opening Day roster).

And whose going to CONTINUE being right, lol?

Paul, you keep beating that “2018 is for development” drum… and I don’t disagree. The thing is, that’s what the minors are for, though. These guys should be getting polished there. The parent club should be doing it’s best to win, at ALL times.

When they start discounting ticket prices, merchandise and the cost of the single team MLB TV packages in Major League “developmental” years, then I’ll be cool with the “punt”.

Signing Ryan Flaherty to a major league deal is not inspiring any more confidence in AA’s abilities as GM. Maybe I can forgive if this means the end of the Danny Santana era in ATL. If AA goes out and signs Jose Bautista (yes, the rumor is out there) then all hope is lost of his being a competent GM. Bautista over either Dickerson or Cave is the absolute height of insanity. If they put Carrera on the active roster or sign Bautista, AA should be fired.

On the other hand, Greg Holland is still out there and would be a significantly good addition. Even with the lost draft pick. They could even sign him to a multi-year and not lose anything. The rumor mill has the Braves in the game for Holland.

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