We are through the halfway point of the 2016 baseball season. Aaron Sanchez has done well since he was installed as the 5th starter in the Toronto Blue Jays rotation during spring training. After his brilliant performance on Monday night versus the Padres, Sanchez has 11 wins on the season, including his last 10, against one loss. He has pitched close to 140 innings and has a robust ERA of 2.72 as of July 26. Those numbers earned him an appearance in this year’s All-Star Game in San Diego. Walks are still a problem for Sanchez as he has issued 39 free passes over the course of those innings pitched. But as long as he keeps the ball down, he will do well the rest of the season.
Which brings up Sanchez and what to do with him in the last 2 months of the season (and hopefully another month in the playoffs). There have been calls to have Sanchez move to the Blue Jays’ bullpen to help ease the workload of the relievers. But why? As I mentioned in the last paragraph, Sanchez is doing well in the rotation and his arm shows no signs of any wear and tear. While this is Sanchez’s first full season in the starting rotation, I’m of the belief that you have to let things run its course and keep him in the rotation until his arm gives out. Besides, we’ve seen Sanchez come into games last season as a reliever where there are runners already on base. He seemed to have trouble pitching in those situations where a seasoned reliever would have gotten out of the inning without giving up a run or the lead. If I was in John Gibbons and Pete Walker’s shoes, I would keep Sanchez in the rotation. And unless Ross Atkins goes out and finds another David Price before the non-waiver trade deadline, there is no reason to move Sanchez to the bullpen.
Perhaps what is getting on my nerves is people seem to have this urgency to move Sanchez to the bullpen in order to open up a spot in the rotation. That is putting the cart before the horse don’t you think? There is absolutely no need to panic despite what you read and hear in the media. Marcus Stroman would have been a more suitable candidate to shift to the pen when he was struggling to find his control earlier this year. But now Stroman, as I have pointed out earlier, seems to have figured it out based on his last outing in Arizona.
There is no way Sanchez is going back to the bullpen. The Blue Jays would be crazy to do so. If the team is expected to head to the playoffs, it needs to keep Sanchez in the rotation. And that is where he belongs.