The Indians need a second baseman, and 2019’s Gold Glove winner at the position just hit waivers. Is Yolmer Sanchez a realistic option in Cleveland?
Yolmer Sanchez was waived by the Chicago White Sox on Monday. He will now be available via the waiver process, and there should be at least a handful of teams calling on the 2019 Gold Glove second baseman.
Sanchez’s defensive ability was evidently expendable for a White Sox team clearly trying to put itself in a position to thump with the big boys in the American League.
Interestingly enough, Sanchez fits the roster needs of at least one division rival well enough that he could wind up staying in the AL Central. The Cleveland Indians are in need of a fourth infielder after declining Jason Kipnis‘ 2020 club option. Naturally, that infielder should have the ability to play second base.
Sanchez’s projected $6.2-million arbitration figure might be enough to scare the Indians (and plenty of other teams) away, as his value is due almost entirely to his defense. His wRC+ has decreased in each of the last two seasons, from 95 in 2017 to 74 in 2019. He almost has to play Gold Glove-caliber defense in order to justify starting him on a regular basis.
Six million dollars is a lot to hang on a player whose best-case offensive scenario is probably a near-average season. At least it was going to be for the White Sox, and likely will be for the Indians as well. Sanchez also has another year of arbitration eligibility after 2020. If the Indians are going to commit to two years for any infielder, why not make it Mike Moustakas?
If ever the Indians were going to buck tradition and ignore budget concerns to an extent, this would be the offseason to do it. Among the nine arbitration-eligible players the Tribe entered this winter with, only five remain with the team. Francisco Lindor, Tyler Naquin, Mike Clevinger, Kevin Plawecki, and Nick Wittgren are projected to make just over $25 million combined in arbitration, with Lindor understandably accounting for a large majority of that total.
That’s a far cry from last winter, in which the club was on the hook for double-digit arbitration numbers for Lindor and Trevor Bauer, as well as a hefty $14.5 million owed to Kipnis. Not to mention the final guaranteed year of Edwin Encarnacion‘s $60-million deal, which the Tribe parlayed into Carlos Santana.
There is room to spend this offseason if the Indians are so inclined, but there are teams out there with thicker wallets who can better afford to give Sanchez what he’s looking at in arbitration. Still, it sure would be entertaining to watch Sanchez and Lindor up the middle in 2020.