The Blue Jays acquired starter Francisco Liriano from the Pirates in a last-minute deal before the 4 PM EDT trade deadline on Monday. The move indicated that the Jays plan to move All-Star starter back to the bullpen.
That much was confirmed later on Monday by Sportsnet Magazine’s Arden Zwelling. GM Ross Atkins said that when Sanchez does transition back to the bullpen, the Jays plan to use him without any restrictions, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports. Sanchez could make one or two more starts, per Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.
It’s an interesting decision considering Sanchez made the 2016 American League All-Star team, is 11-1, and currently owns an AL-best 2.71 ERA with a 118/41 K/BB ratio in 139 1/3 innings. Liriano is 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA and a 116/69 K/BB ratio in 113 2/3 innings. Seems like a serious downgrade.