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Ferguson: The time is coming for Jays' prospect Sanchez

Scott Ferguson
11/15/2013 12:47:12 PM
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It has been a long time since the Blue Jays developed a starting pitcher of their own who had any kind of huge success and staying power.

Yes, Ricky Romero, Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum all had varying degrees of viability, but McGowan and Marcum had injury issues and Romero has run into mechanical and confidence issues that have many wondering if he's ever going to get it back.

You really have to go back to Roy Halladay, who broke in to the majors in late 1998 to find any Jays starting pitcher of note who went on to stardom.

It's a little too early to put that "can't miss" label on right-hander Aaron Sanchez, but the 21-year-old is showing signs of being a good one.

The Arizona Fall League's regular season, as brief as it may be, wound up on Thursday of this week.

Seven of the Jays' better prospects were playing with the Salt River Rafters. Going into the final game, the Rafters were a half-game back of Mesa for the East Division title. They needed to win and have Mesa lose its final game against Glendale to claim the division crown.

Sanchez started for Salt River and was outstanding. He gave up one run on six hits in five innings and picked up the victory as the Rafters edged Scottsdale 3-2.

The 6'4" Sanchez finished the AFL season with a 2-1 record and a 1.16 ERA over 23.1 innings. He had to be that good in the final game, since Scottsdale starter Kyle Crick, a top Giants prospect, started out by pitching three hitless innings and striking out five.

Sanchez's teammate, lefty Mike Montgomery of the Rays organization, pitched two shutout innings in relief for the Rafters and said Sanchez is good now, but has the chance to be real good in the future.

Unfortunately, Sanchez and the Rafters didn't make it into Saturday's final, because Mesa whipped Glendale 9-3 to clinch the East.

It's highly unlikely Aaron Sanchez will be with the Blue Jays to start the 2014 season, but his time is coming.


Starting Five

It's no secret that the Blue Jays need immediate help in their rotation, and you can bet GM Alex Anthopoulos will be right in the thick of talks for free agents Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana to name just three.

The demand for that trio and their price is bound to increase with word that MLB has withdrawn its proposal for a new posting agreement with Japanese baseball.

Many Major League owners, ever mindful of controlling costs, didn't like the process of making sealed bids with the high bid getting the players. Paying huge amounts to relatively unproven (by Major League standards) Japanese players only served to drive up the price, which established Major League players could then get when they became free agents.

So now, unless something changes, Japanese players such as star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will have to put in nine years of service time in their native country before they can become free agents. Posting would appear to be dead for now.


The Rumour Mill
 
This has been a week of wild unfounded rumours, such as the Jays thinking about dealing Jose Bautista to the Phillies for a package including outfielder Domonic Brown, and a number of teams including the Phillies being interested in catcher J.P. Arencibia.

This isn't a rumour, just a possibility. The Cincinnati Reds are still considering moving their smoke-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman into the starting rotation to replace 37-year-old Bronson Arroyo, who is likely gone as a free agent.

Chapman apparently isn't thrilled by this and wants to stay on as the Reds closer. However, if the Reds can change his mind, they would need some help in the pen.

This is where the Blue Jays come in. They could deal a couple of their surplus relievers to the Reds for 27-year-old righty Homer Bailey, he of two career no-hitters.

The Reds may consider dealing Bailey because he's due a healthy raise through arbitration this year after making $5.3 million last year. He can also become a free agent in 2015. Cincinnati also has lefty Tony Cingrani to plug into the rotation should they deal Bailey.

Bailey, the seventh-overall pick in 2004, is also represented by the Hendricks brothers, the same ones who helped deliver Roger Clemens to the Blue Jays in 1997.

Bailey doesn't have an overwhelming record over his seven years in the "Bigs" at 49-45 with a 4.25 ERA. However, he is only one of 31 pitchers all-time and just 26 in the modern era to have multiple no-hitters, and at least initially he wouldn't cost as much as Garza, Jimenez or Santana.

Just a thought.



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