Anibal ad portas: 10 reasons why the Anibal Sanchez signing makes sense for the Twins.

The Twins have signed free agent RHP Anibal Sanchez, formerly of the Detroit Tigers to an 1 year contract that is for about $2.5 million with the same amount in incentives.  The deal is not guaranteed so there is no down side for the Twins.  Looking at Sanchez's 2017 in a traditional way (starting in the pen, being demoted, moving into the rotation and finishing with a 3-7 record, 6.41 ERA and 1.59 WHIP,) makes this signing borderline nonsensical, and even more so given the verbal assurances by the new Twins' front office that improving the front of the rotation was a priority.

All that aside, I believe that this is a good signing for the Twins.  Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. The Twins will likely still sign a top of the rotation starter.  Sanchez's signing has more to do about what they think the ability of Phil Hughes and Adalberto Mejia is at this point than about filling the top of the Twins rotation
  2. Sanchez's signing will give another year for Stephen Gonsalves & Fernando Romero to work on their deficiencies (fastball location, command and movement & endurance, respectively) before they are forced to be parts of the Twins' rotation
  3. Even if  Sanchez frizzles during Spring Training or even in April or May and gets released, the Twins are left with what they had before they signed him and the fact that his contract is non-guaranteed makes the financial risk also very small.  In other words:  He is just another arm to compete for a spot.  If he makes the team great, if he does not, the Twins did not gain or lose anything.  In yet another words, this is like Sanchez coming in to fight for a position.  If he gets it good, if he does not, no harm.
  4. The Tigers had him start the season in the pen and transitioned him to the rotation later in the year, pretty much messing him up. Starting the season in the rotation, he might be much better. Despite that, his average game score in 17 starts was 46 (50 is MLB average), and this includes an game that he pitched one scoreless inning as a starter and a game with an 8 game score, in which he should had departed earlier
  5. He pitched in post season games in 3 different seasons with a 2.79 ERA, 26.7 K%, 18.0 K-BB%, and 1.16 WHIP, bringing something that the Twins could value down the road.
  6. His traditional 2017 numbers were an abberration.  His .354 BABIP, 19.3 HR/FB, and 67.1% LOB are due for a huge possitive regression 
  7. His 21.6 K% in 2017 was bettered only by Jose Berrios from all the 2017 starters
  8. His and 15.6 K-BB% in 2017 would have been better that that of each and every 2017 Twins' starter
  9. His 4.16 SIERA in 2017would have been better that that of each and every 2017 Twins' starter
  10. He is not a pitch to a contact guy.  His 9.8 SwStr% in 2017 was just higher that Berrios's (9.5)

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