Teheran had a nightmare 2020 with the Angels. A positive test for COVID-19 derailed his preparations for the shortened campaign, and he had a torrid time on the mound. After a couple of strong seasons, Sanchez also struggled in 2020. His 11 starts resulted in a 6.62 ERA. Sanchez’s age-36 season saw his worst WHIP (1.66) since his six starts for the Florida Marlins in 2007.
The offseason market for both pitchers was going to be almost non-existent. It was the worst possible walk year. Sanchez saw his fastball velocity drop further to below 90mph for the first time in his career. His expected numbers were every bit as discouraging as his results. Teheran’s advanced statistics were bad, but his fastball velocity appears to have stuck in the 89mph mark after a decline a couple years ago.
With many front offices penny pinching, as covered in our latest podcast, the market has been slow for the top free agents. Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna and George Springer are unsigned. There has been movement in the starter market, however. Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly and Corey Kluber penned deals, following Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman accepting qualifying offers. Carlos Carrasco, Yu Darvish and Blake Snell were all traded, too.
Sanchez and Teheran have a point to prove with this showcase. As Kluber showed just a week or so ago, though, a good showcase can quickly result in a contract. Kluber had barely pitched in two seasons, but the Yankees snapped him up. Of course, his upside is higher than Sanchez or Teheran, but both have the long track record to back up an impressive showcase.
The market for both players is going to be similar. If they impress in these showcases, they should have enough interest for a Major League deal. Non-contenders will view Teheran and Sanchez as bargain options to eat innings.
The Baltimore Orioles could benefit from a veteran presence or two on their starting staff. Their current rotation, led by John Means and Alex Cobb, has little to no track record of logging big innings totals in the Majors. Sanchez and Teheran both, in theory, can offer that. The Orioles offseason is not about Bauer, Jake Odorizzi or Masahiro Tanaka. They are still in the depths of a rebuild – Teheran and Sanchez can be useful, and maybe even get flipped for a low-level prospect at the deadline.
Pittsburgh seem to be competing for one thing at the moment: the lowest payroll in MLB. Nothing about them screams free agent acquisitions, though rumors of trading Joe Musgrove or Trevor Williams could leave them with rotation spots to fill.
Texas might show interest, too. Trading Lance Lynn has left their rotation looking thin. An experienced arm or two will make them feel a bit more comfortable and take the pressure off Kolby Allard and Dane Dunning.