We’re only a few days into free agency, but we have already heard multiple reports of outrageous contract demands. Just to name some recent examples, Josh Hamilton reportedly wants $175 million while Michael Bourn is looking for $100 million and Jeremy Guthrie is seeking $34 million. Well, we can add a new name to the list.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez is seeking a contract in the range of $90 million over six years. This would give him an AAV (average annual value) of $15 million, very close to C.J. Wilson’s $15.5 million AAV as part of his five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Angels last offseason.
Sanchez probably won’t get six years guaranteed or $90 million, but he should do very well as one of the top pitchers available in free agency. While injuries were a factor early in his career, the 28-year-old right-hander has quietly logged at least 195 innings over the past three seasons while posting a 3.70 ERA. He also improved his stock after finishing strong following his trade to the Tigers this July, proving that he can be successful in the American League.
Morosi is hearing that the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Dodgers are among the teams who have expressed interest in Sanchez so far. The competition should be good news for his asking price and it only takes one team to throw things out of whack, but a deal similar to Wilson’s sounds more reasonable.
The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.
The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.
The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.
Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.