The Toronto Blue Jays have signed free agent catcher Tony Sanchez to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training
The Blue Jays have announced the signing of catcher Tony Sanchez to a minor league contract, adding depth to one of the thinnest positions on their roster.
Sanchez was originally selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates fourth overall in 2009 out of Boston College, where he stayed before being designated for assignment early last month. In Pittsburgh, Sanchez backed up Russell Martin briefly.
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By Baseball America rankings, Sanchez was a top-3 organizational prospect in 2009 and 2010 while ranking within the top-100 league wide. Sanchez has been named the best defensive catcher in the Pirates organization four times.
Standing at 5’11”, 220 pounds, Sanchez has seen just 155 major league plate appearances since making his debut with the Pirates in 2013. Across that sample size, he holds a slash line of .259 / .303 / .378.
Looking to his minor league numbers, Sanchez has spent time with triple-A Indianapolis each season since 2012, building up a sample size of over 300 games and 1200 plate appearances. His ability to work a walk is appealing, and his triple-A slash line rests at .248 / .342 / .415.
Sanchez’s role remains to be seen, as he’ll now be in competition with Josh Thole for the club’s primary backup job. What he does represent, at the very minimum, is a more comfortable MLB option should Martin be hit with a longer-term injury.
This could develop into a situation where Thole is the 2A with Sanchez serving as the 2B, leaving Thole to start the season with the major league club and working with R.A. Dickey. Should the club require a starting catcher for multiple games, though, Sanchez may earn the edge for that role.