5 Non-tendered targets the Seattle Mariners should pursue

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 5-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Taijuan Walker #44 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won the game 5-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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3. Aaron Sanchez

HOUSTON, TEXAS – AUGUST 03: Aaron Sanchez #18 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on August 03, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS – AUGUST 03: Aaron Sanchez #18 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on August 03, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Yes, another RHP coming off an injury. Are you seeing a pattern? Aaron Sanchez is perhaps the most interesting name to be non-tendered yesterday. A former Cy Young contender who has been ravaged by injuries and poor performance is now available in free agency and the price tag could be at an all-time low.

Sanchez’s 2019 season ended with a shoulder injury and it is expected to linger into 2020. It is unclear how much time he could miss, but that is something we won’t know until Sanchez is checked out by team doctors.

Houston took a chance on Sanchez at the trade deadline, thanks in large part to the elite spin rate Sanchez can put on his curveball. Despite that ability to “spin it”, Sanchez used the curveball as more of a third offering, preferring instead to use his four-seam fastball and sinker.

The sinker and fastball have been incrementally worse every year since 2016, but the curveball has remained an above-average to great pitch ever since. Sanchez should re-brand his curveball as his out pitch and in 2019, he appeared to be making that transition, throwing the curve a career-high 23% of the time.

He still shows good velocity on the sinking fastball (93-94 MPH) and has shown an above-average changeup in recent years. The solution to fixing Sanchez could be as simple as changing his pitch mix.

For the past 3 years, Sanchez has been using his two worst pitches significantly more than his two best offerings. Houston was beginning to change that before the shoulder injury. Seattle is a natural fit to help continue that trend.

The Mariners have a spot to give and one that comes with relatively low pressure to succeed right away. Sanchez is the ultimate scratch-off lottery ticket. There is a low cost and high reward factor that shouldn’t be ignored. Get it done, Jerry.

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