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Olney: Don’t expect a massive return for Stroman and Sanchez

One of the biggest storylines surrounding the Blue Jays this season is the seemingly inevitable trades of Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. As both soon-to-be free agent starters pitch well, most fans see them as a part of the long-term solution. The front office seems to think otherwise.

Buster Olney appeared on Sportsnet 590 with Ben Ennis and JD Bunkis yesterday to talk about the direction the Blue Jays should go with their two key starters:

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The main point is one we’ve heard many times before. Olney suggests that it makes sense for the Jays to sell high on Sanchez and Stroman as both guys are pitching well right now. This is especially important in the case of Sanchez as he’s had back-to-back seasons derailed due to injury. His strong start has done a lot to boost his value and there’s a little bit of volatility there if the Jays decide to hang on and wait. Same goes, to a lesser extent, for Marcus Stroman, who had a rough showing in 2018 due to various injuries.

Another point Olney brought up is what the market for Stroman and Sanchez would look like. According to Olney, the Jays shouldn’t expect to have their minds blown by the offers they get for their two ace starters. Olney mentions Madison Bumgarner’s availability and Dallas Keuchel still waiting around on the free agent market as a couple of example of other good arms bogging down the market for starting pitching.

This is a debate we’re going to be having all year. I see the logic behind trading both Stroman or Sanchez in order to bring in young, controllable assets rather than gambling with the two players as they head to free agency. I mean, we saw the front office cling to Josh Donaldson, which ultimately resulted in him getting traded for virtually nothing at the trade deadline last year.

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But then again, starting pitching is really, really hard to find. If Sanchez and Stroman are dealt, what does the rotation look like in 2020? Ryan Borucki, Trent Thornton, and… Uhhh… Sean Reid-Foley? Who has an 8.50 ERA in Triple-A? Nate Pearson? Patrick Murphy?

Hopefully, if the Jays do deal Stroman and Sanchez, they get back arms that can step in and help as soon as next year because this rotation is going to be complete ass without them.



  • Renegade

    There is no rush to trade either of them. Prices are generally much higher at the trade deadline or even next year’s trade deadline.
    I would say re-sign them but I am sure Boras will seek Free agency and Stroman’s representatives are likely aiming very high.

  • Mose

    Seems the Sportsnet recap of most of Sanchez’ starts goes something like…

    “Sanchez dominant at times except for…”
    – INSERT all the bad things that happen when you can’t command your pitches….

    Personally, I love any pitcher whose stuff is so dominant, either because of velocity, movement or both, they overpower hitters. I appreciate when the Sanchez fastball was exactly that coming out of the pen early in his career and during his very impressive 2015 year.

    Now 3 years removed from his best year ever, he shows limited ability to consistently command any of his pitches. Strike throwing is also a challenge at some point in his starts. Accordingly, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to #sitonfastball, and his fastball that isn’t as compelling as it once was.

    Surprised there hasn’t been more improvement/adjustments to his change and his slurvy curveball to break more “12 to 6” in order to pair more effectively with his fastball.

    Maybe the teacher is there, and the student isn’t interested, or some kinda vice versa… Perhaps the student will show up when his fastball average falls below the MLB average, or from the whiplash of watching your fastball hammered into the 2nd deck.

    Unless a very team friendly deal shows up, I would seek max value from trading this asset before another fingernail injury or suitcase incident befalls the self-appointed “Sanchize.”

    According to Vegas, Boras and “team friendly” do not go in the same sentence.

    • The Humungus

      He’s basically AJ Burnett. It’s not a perfect comparison, but the walk rate, strikeout rate, ERA+, FIP, ERA….it’s all pretty close.

      And there’s nothing wrong with that. He’ll slot nicely into the 3/4 hole in the rotation if they keep him around.

      • Mose

        Interesting comparison… and perhaps that is why it is, and it’s so maddening to watch Sanchez and Burnett pitch… neither were able to produce results consistent with their level of their prodigious talent…

        I’d agree that Aaron would slot nicely into 3/4 for the Jays long term, but it seems the “Sanchize” thinks of himself as more of an ace.

        Perhaps a mirror and a taped comparison of what you described above would be a great gift for not so young Aaron to reflect on coming up to free agency …

      • Bread_Basket

        AJ Burnett actually had much better results than Sanchez, putting up 2 5-fWAR seasons by the time he was Sanchez’s age and finishing his career with 42.4 fWAR. Sanchez so far has accumulated a grand total of 5.2 fWAR, with the huge bulk of that coming in his one good year, which more and more is looking like an outlier. Sure, he might mature nicely as he continues to learn to pitch and has the potential to do better, but it would take a huge upswing for him to approach the career that Burnett had.

        • The Humungus

          fWAR is no good for pitchers.

          The best explanation I’ve read on it is that fWAR tries to be objective and ignores actual results instead trying to assign value to pitchers based on objective metrics, while bWAR uses a combination of results and objectives. I looked into it last year having an argument on Deadspin about Kyle Freeland (who was MUCH higher regarded by bWAR at the time).

          If you go by bWAR, Burnett after parts of 6 seasons (age 27) was at 8.5, Sanchez is at 9.8 right now in parts of 6 seasons (age 26).

  • El Cabeza

    “…Ryan Borucki, Trent Thornton, and… Uhhh… Sean Reid-Foley? Who has an 8.50 ERA in Triple-A? Nate Pearson? Patrick Murphy?”

    Why are you being so cryptic and not just telling us who has an 8.50 ERA in Triple A?