Gaby Sanchez

Gaby Sanchez signs with Japanese team

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Non-tendered last month after the Pirates acquired Sean Rodriguez to potentially replace his right-handed bat, Gaby Sanchez has signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.

His move to Japan is surprising because it seemed pretty likely that Sanchez would be able to snag another part-time role in the big leagues at age 31, but the Associated Press says he’ll get $2.5 million and that’s almost surely more than any MLB team would have paid.

Sanchez is a career .254 hitter with a .744 OPS in seven seasons, including a paltry .691 OPS versus righties compared to a strong .863 OPS off lefties. He made the All-Star team in 2011.