Winter Signings: Freddy Sanchez

The San Francisco Giants re-signed second baseman Freddy Sanchez to a two-year deal late last week. The deal is worth $12 million in total, and it eliminates an $8.1 million option that the club held for 2010. The Giants organization traded for Sanchez in ’09 and gave up prized pitching prospect Tim Alderson to acquire the veteran.

Sanchez, who turns 32 in December, hit .293/.326/.416 in 111 games in 2009, and he missed time with a knee injury, which has now been surgically repaired. He’s expected to be fully healthy for spring training in 2010. After being acquired on July 29, Sanchez appeared in just 25 games with the Giants because of the injury. The new contract helps make up for the fact that the organization traded a promising pitcher (even if Alderson’s value is diminished somewhat at this point) for 25 games worth of an injured veteran second baseman.

From a fantasy perspective, Sanchez’ deal doesn’t really help his value. He will remain with a club that does not have a very potent offense, so the impact on Sanchez’ runs and RBIs will be modest at best. He produces just single-digit home runs and stolen bases, so his value is tied up solely in his batting average in most traditional fantasy leagues. That makes Sanchez a second-tiered option at second base.

Sanchez’ two-year deal likely ends Emmanuel Burriss‘ hope of playing everyday in San Francisco, unless he can supplant the disappointing Edgar Renteria at shortstop, which is unlikely. Sadly, the club probably could have gotten more offensive value – and for the league minimum – from Ryan Rohlinger, who showed pop at triple-A in ’09 with a .188 ISO. He doesn’t have a ton of experience at second base, playing mostly third base in the minors, but he’s shown a modest ability at the keystone. Depth-wise, the organization has middle-of-the-road second-base prospect Nick Noonan, a former first round pick from 2007. He is probably two to three years away from contributing at the MLB level.

Overall on the season, Sanchez posted a WAR of 2.2 and was worth about $10 million, mainly due to his defensive contributions. For similar money, the club would have been better off looking at free agents such as Orlando Hudson (2.9 WAR) or Felipe Lopez (4.6 WAR), although the latter will likely be over-priced on the market due to his above-average offensive season. A cheaper option would have been Akinori Iwamura (1.2 WAR), whose value was diminished by an injury in ’09.




Print This Post

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


7 Responses to “Winter Signings: Freddy Sanchez”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. J.Mack says:

    Giants second basemen combined for a .236/.281/.329 line in 2009. If Sanchez plays to his career averages, the Giants are looking at improving substantially (3 or 4 wins?) at 2B in 2010. Other than getting a better second baseman, that might be one of the best and easiest improvements available (knowing the Giants aren’t willing to supplant Renteria or trade for a top-tier first baseman) to the team for next year.

    But while Sanchez seems like a “safe” signing on the surface, there are warning signs that he is on an age and injury-related decline. He had a dismal 2008 campaign and not mentioned here is that he also had an injured shoulder during his time with the Giants. Also, other than Rohlinger and Burriss, the Giants have Kevin Frandsen (good defense and very similar minor league numbers to Sanchez) and Matt Downs as potentially serviceable 2B waiting for real ML shots.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Kirk says:

    It’s easy to say that they should have seen if they could sign a comparable player cheaper but it isn’t always that simple. And the Giants are not a team that can afford to take a chance and downgrade at 2B and hope that a rookie can match Sanchez’ production. The have one of the worst offenses in the MLB and need to be adding bats not subtracting them.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. PhD Brian says:

    Had the Giants had Sanchez all season, then I think they would have played in the post season. This is a very good signing. It fills the teams biggest need with one of the better available options available. Sure perhaps the dollars are a tad high. Nonetheless, I think you have consider the Giants among front runners for the post season in 2010. The starting pitching is probably the best in baseball, and several offensive players had off years and could see some bounce back in their numbers.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Darren says:

    “Overall on the season, Sanchez posted a WAR of 2.2 and was worth about $10 million, mainly due to his defensive contributions. For similar money, the club would have been better off looking at free agents such as Orlando Hudson (2.9 WAR) or Felipe Lopez (4.6 WAR), although the latter will likely be over-priced on the market due to his above-average offensive season.”

    Overall, they would have been better off likely overpaying for Lopez? Or for Hudson, who would cost them a draft pick and may well cost more than $6 mil. per year, may resign with the Dodgers or with another team? Or trade talent for the far inferior Iwamura who is only slightly cheaper?

    Sanchez is a versatile, above-average player, signed for 2 years, at a very reasonable rate. He’s not blocking anybody special. What is it about Sanchez that makes Fangraphs bloggers dislike him so much?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>