The Phillies are exploring the idea of adding Aníbal Sánchez to the pitching staff, per MLB Insider Jon Morosi (video link). As Morosi notes, Sanchez began his MLB career in 2006 with the Marlins playing for current Phillies manager Joe Girardi. Sanchez also has experience dealing with President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski: Sanchez inked a five-year, $80MM deal just before Christmas in 2012 when Dombrowski was the Tigers’ GM.
Sánchez won’t be signing quite such a lucrative deal this time around as he enters his age-37 season. The Nationals chose a $2MM opt-out after he struggled to a 6.62 ERA/5.46 FIP across 53 innings in 2020. Sánchez has been counted out before, of course. After three subpar seasons in Detroit, Sanchez revitalized his career with back-to-back 2.5 fWAR seasons with the Braves in 2018 and the Nationals in 2019. In the latter, he started with a 5.27 ERA over his first eight starts, but after a 10-day stint on the injured list for a left hamstring strain, Sánchez returned to post a 3.42 ERA over 123 2/3 innings the rest of the way. He was crucial in the Nats’ World Series run, which included coming within four outs of throwing a no-hitter in game one of the NLCS. These days, Sánchez looks to throw strikes, control pace, and change speeds, the latter of which is helped by his famed butterfly change, La Mariposa, which clocks in a tick under 70 mph.
The Phillies could slot Sánchez into the rotation behind Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin. Bringing in a veteran of his ilk would allow the Phillies patience in the development of Spencer Howard, who will compete for a rotation spot in 2021.