Blue Jays: What is Aaron Sanchez worth in 2018?

After a lost season due to injuries, Aaron Sanchez’s stock took a major hit. How will much will that affect him as he enters arbitration for the first time?

The Blue Jays entered the 2017 season thinking that Aaron Sanchez could realistically compete for the American League Cy Young Award, especially since they had finally taken his innings restrictions away and were going to really unleash him on the league. There were plenty of reasons to expect him to do just that, especially after he lead AL in ERA in 2016, and was one of the most dominant starters in the game.

Instead, 2017 brought just eight starts, and almost as many DL trips, as he landed on the injured list on four separate occasions. He and the training staff tried everything they could to rectify the blister, fingernail, and tendon issues he suffered with his pitching hand, and eventually shut him down for the remainder of the year with an eye on spring training of 2018. It was disappointing to be sure, but the hope is that they can put this season in the rear view, and return him to the electric starter he used to be.

Sanchez made his debut out of the bullpen back in 2014, but he only made 24 appearances that year before he became a full time regular of the pitching staff in 2015. This offseason he’s set to enter his first go around with arbitration, assuming both sides can’t come to an agreement before hand.

If Sanchez had been in this position last offseason, he would have had all the leverage in the world to ask for a big raise. It still would have been modest from what he’s worth when he’s healthy, but instead he was in a position where he had no choice but to accept a contract for barely more than $500,000 last offseason. It was a bit of a “thing” between the agent and club, as Sanchez probably deserved a better raise last year, but the Blue Jays didn’t have to give him one yet.

And in case you missed it, Sanchez employs arguably baseball’s most prolific agent, Scott Boras. Boras wasn’t happy last offseason, and you can bet he’s going to remind the Blue Jays of what his client did in 2016, rather than want to talk about the injury concerns. As I said earlier, this is a tricky one because of the health dynamic in the situation. A healthy Sanchez is probably worth big money, but another year on the disabled list isn’t worth much to the Blue Jays.

MLBtraderumors.com has Sanchez pegged for a raise up to 1.9 million for next year, which seems like a pretty fair place to go after how things played out last year. You can bet that Boras will be asking for much more, and it’s possible the Blue Jays will give him a little more, especially in light of how feelings were hurt last year. Either way, I wouldn’t want to be part of the negotiating table on this one, as it’s really hard to determine where fair value is for 2018.

Hopefully, Sanchez will end up being a bargain for the Blue Jays, regardless of what he ends up getting paid.