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.
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