Blue Jays: Plenty of veterans with something to prove
Last but not least, Aaron Sanchez rounds out the list of players that badly need to prove themselves in 2018, although I likely could have added a few more.
The story is very familiar by now, as Sanchez came into the 2017 season expected to anchor the Blue Jays’ rotation, and challenge for the American League Cy Young Award. Unfortunately none of those things happened, as he was limited to just eight starts and 36 innings pitched while dealing with blister, fingernail, and tendon issues on his pitching hand. He hit the disabled list four separate times, and the team and training staff finally decided to shut him down for good in hopes of getting him ready for spring training.
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You won’t find many folks around the game who doubt the power pitcher’s ability, but he’ll need to show some durability in 2018 in order to bring back the buzz around his name. With super-agent Scott Boras working for him, Sanchez is the type of talent who could command a 200+ million contract in three season’s time, but he’ll have to prove he can stay healthy before anyone will consider a long term deal with him, let alone a huge money pact like that.
Hopefully the training staff, Sanchez, and everyone involved learned what they need to about dealing with the issue so that they can put it behind the star pitcher going forward. Sanchez probably represents the biggest wild card regarding the Blue Jays’ upcoming season, and if he can stay healthy a lot of good things will happen for the team, and the talented pitcher.
I considered adding Justin Smoak and talking about how he’ll need to prove 2017 wasn’t just an aberration, or Joe Biagini and his quest to be a starting pitcher, but otherwise who do you feel that I missed? Every big leaguer has something to prove on a year to year basis, but I felt that these eight players in particular will be focused on having a better year this upcoming season, and showing their real value to the baseball world.