The Chicago White Sox just placed infielder Yolmer Sanchez on waivers. The Baltimore Orioles want defensive help up the middle. Are the two a fit?
Over the weekend, we put out this piece taking a look at former Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants infielder Matt Duffy and his potential fit as the infield depth piece Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias is in search for this offseason.
Duffy isn’t a perfect fit and isn’t the top option, but a report from MASN’s Roch Kubakto pointed out that the Orioles had previously done background work on former Cincinnati Reds infielder Jose Iglesias and found him not to be a potential clubhouse fit for the organization. We previously mentioned him as a possibility, along with two other veteran options, before hearing about this report.
All of this was before the recent removal of Yolmer Sanchez from the Chicago White Sox 40-man roster and his placement on waivers. Sanchez very much fits as the type of player the Orioles want to add to as up the middle depth and a boost to the infield defense.
From dumping a coolers of water and Gatorade on himself to celebrate a walk-off victory, to swimming his way to third base during a rain delay, Sanchez has one of the bigger personalities in baseball and possesses one of the top gloves in the game.
His 11 Defensive Runs Saved and 4.9 Ultimate Zone Rating at second base earned himself his first Gold Glove Award this season, both numbers ranking second among all second basemen in baseball, behind only Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Offensively, Sanchez has declined at the plate over the last three seasons, resulting in a 2019 that saw him slash .252/..318/.321 with two home runs, an .069 ISO, and 43 RBI. Since posting a career-high wRC+ of 95 in 2017, Sanchez has seen his production drop to a wRC+ of 87 in 2018 and 74 in 2019.
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Even with his Gold Glove-caliber defense, Sanchez was worth just 1.0 fWAR last season, but the Orioles, or any team that adds Sanchez to their roster, won’t be adding him for his bat.
Defense was a major concern of the Orioles last year, which didn’t help to add any confidence to a young and inexperienced pitching staff that needed all the help it could get. If Jonathan Villar is moved this offseason, or non-tendered, adding Sanchez makes a lot of sense.
He was due to make $6.2 million in arbitration this winter, which is likely a major reason as to why the White Sox viewed him as expendable. That and an infielder by the name of Nick Madrigal.
The Orioles aren’t going to be piling up the wins this season, so sacrificing a bit of offense to bring up a valuable glove could have a positive ripple effect around the infield. Sanchez is sure to draw interest from other organizations. As for the Orioles, is he a cheap enough option?
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What do you think? Mike Elias wants depth up the middle who can flash the leather. Does Yolmer Sanchez fit the bill?