Blue Jays could regain Aaron Sanchez near trade deadline

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Blue Jays’ starter Aaron Sanchez is set to take his first step back towards the rotation on Tuesday, as he is scheduled to throw two innings in a Gulf Coast League game. According to the report from Shi Davidi, there is still no hard timeline for Sanchez’s return, but the All Star break may provide the Blue Jays with a cushion.

Sanchez’s spot in the rotation will come around just once more before July 22nd, and barring any setbacks, he could conceivably make his return towards the end of July. While I can already hear the dreaded line from Anthopoulos of “getting Aaron back is our deadline acquisition”, his healthy return should allow for the Blue Jays general manager to be flexible in trade negotiations.

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Like it or not, Sanchez represents a movable piece between the rotation and bullpen. If Anthopoulos is able to add an impact starter, perhaps even two, there exists a possibility that the team could slide the young right-hander back into the ‘pen, thus improving two positions at once.

The clear argument against this, however, is that Sanchez was rounding into the Blue Jays top starting pitcher just before his injury. In his last start before going on the DL against the Houston Astros, Sanchez went 8.0 innings strong, allowing just one earned run on six hits while allowing zero walks.

The timing of his injury was extremely unfortunate because things were finally beginning to “click”. In many of his starts throughout April and May, Sanchez was guilty of nibbling around the corners, and the heavy movement on his fastball caused pitch after pitch to tumble away and out of the zone. With renewed confidence that his raw stuff is enough to miss bats over the plate, Sanchez can dominate.

Sanchez’s DL trip has raised some concerns about his arm mechanics, which is something that we’ll need to keep a very close eye on. Fireballing young pitchers have become such a volatile commodity in the modern MLB, and many people within baseball fear that his delivery will lead to future injury and trips to the DL. Another concern is that his delivery causes excess strain that will result in above-average fatigue levels even when injuries are not an issue.

His extended rest means that Sanchez will need to build up his stamina through several Minor League starts. Beginning with 2.0 IP, he’ll increase that to approximately 4.0-5.0 IP in his next outing before rejoining the Blue Jays in the midst of their playoff push around the end of the month. Perhaps he’ll be joining some new faces, as well.

Next: Blue Jays rumors: Jason Grilli a target?

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