Pirates sign Jonathan Sanchez to minor league deal

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Jonathan Sanchez will try to resurrect his career in Pittsburgh, agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

Once upon a time Sanchez looked like a very promising young left-hander, but control problems have consistently wrecked any chance he had of emerging as a front-line starter and he was an absolute mess last season with an 8.07 ERA in 65 innings for the Royals and Rockies.

Kansas City gave up Melky Cabrera to get Sanchez from San Francisco last offseason and then he walked more batters than he struck out, was traded to Colorado, and then shut down in August with arm problems.

Sanchez had a 3.75 ERA in 458 innings from 2009-2011, so he’s not that far removed from being a plenty useful pitcher, but last season was so bad that it’s tough to imagine a successful bounce back.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.

Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.

Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.

Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.