Friday, November 30, 2012
Covering Their Losses
Adding Russell Martin for two years is a move that will hopefully improve the big league club. The team had a fairly big hole at catcher and while Martin might not fill that hole entirely, he at least is a good stop gap. This move is also a sign that the team perhaps does not believe in Tony Sanchez.
Sanchez the top selection from the Pirates' draft in 2009 was supposed to have already arrived in the majors, bringing with him solid defense and a good enough bat. The former Boston College Eagle has not soared since becoming a Pirate. Instead he has struggled rather mightily on the field and gotten into scraps off the field. Once seen as part of a foundation of young Pirates in Pittsburgh, Sanchez now is perhaps on the periphery.
If the club is going to go with Martin for two years, then they seem to think that Sanchez is not ready at least this season, which is a pretty widely held notion. It also will make life difficult on him as in another year, the competition for a back up job would conceivably include not only Sanchez, but McKenry and rising prospect Ramon Cabrera. While Cabrera has not hit for much power, he has at least hit, something Sanchez has not done.
The luster has gone from Sanchez and now he is simply a regular prospect. No longer a star or someone to really count on. Perhaps this is the year he breaks through and becomes that prospect again, or perhaps the Pirates are hedging their bets that like a lot of young catchers, it simply is not going to happen now but later if ever.
If Sanchez cannot make an impact in Pittsburgh, it will be another mark against the draft strategy of the club. The whole strategy in 2009 centered around getting Sanchez signed and him being a safe bet. If that safe bet does not turnout and the higher bets later don't as well, it is a lost year that they cannot afford. In the end it will cost them many more Russell Martin signings if they want to cover their losses.