Royals designate Sánchez for assignment
Struggling left-hander, whom Royals got in Cabrera trade, is designated for assignment.By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The Royals yielded to the crushing evidence of Jonathan Sánchezs ineffectiveness Tuesday afternoon by designating him for assignment prior to their game against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium.
The decision came one day after Sánchezs record dipped to 1-6 and his ERA climbed to 7.76 after allowing seven runs in 11/3 innings in a 9-4 loss to the Mariners.
Outing to outing, we just kept evaluating it, general manager Dayton Moore said. We just felt a change was required at this point in time.
The Royals also optioned outfielder Jason Bourgeois to Class AAA Omaha to clear the necessary roster space to recall left-hander Ryan Verdugo and right-hander Vin Mazzaro from the Storm Chasers.
Verdugo, 25, made his major-league debut Tuesday as the Royals starting pitcher, while Mazzaro will serve as the bullpens long reliever.
Both could be short-term fits.
All signs point to lefty Will Smith being recalled prior to the weekend to fill Sánchezs spot in the rotation. Smith, 23, was unavailable Tuesday because he threw 102 pitches last Friday in seven innings.
Smith is 3-0 in his last four minor-league starts while allowing just four earned runs in 272/3 innings. He was 1-2 in three big-league starts earlier this season while allowing 14 runs in 14 innings.
Manager Ned Yost conceded Verdugos promotion stemmed largely from availability, and would probably get only one start before returning to Omaha or, possibly, shifting to the bullpen.
Well see, Yost said, but you look at his numbers, and theyre pretty good down there. Hes got 19 less hits (allowed) than innings pitched. Mazzaro is here right now just to provide protection. I dont know how long its going to be. This is all day to day.
Tuesdays moves addressed an immediate need for a starting pitcher and a long reliever following Sánchezs disastrous start in Mondays loss. Yost used Louis Coleman for 22/3 innings before calling on Everett Teaford for five innings.
Teaford had been scheduled to start Tuesdays game.
Verdugo is 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA in 18 games at Omaha, including 15 starts, and was well-rested. He had pitched just one inning since July 5 largely because the Royals wanted him available if needed for a spot start.
Mazzaro, 25, returned from Omaha for the third time this season. He is 3-3 with a 5.70 ERA in eight previous big-league games, including six starts. He hadnt pitched since Friday, when he worked two innings in closing out Smiths latest victory.
Bourgeois playing time dwindled when Lorenzo Cain returned last Friday from the disabled list. Bourgeois was eight for 19 in 12 games following his June 27 recall but has served only as a pinch-runner since Cains return.
We want him playing, Yost said of Bourgeois. He did a really nice job, once he got into the swing of things, in a platoon situation. We dont want him just sitting up here as a pinch runner.
Sánchez admitted he is frustrated at his season-long struggles.
When it doesnt work, he said, its pretty frustrating. What can I say? Ive just got to move forward and keep working and see what happens.
By designating Sánchez for assignment, the Royals effectively acknowledged one of the worst trades in franchise history: They sent outfielder Melky Cabrera to San Francisco on Nov. 7, 2011, for Sánchez and Verdugo.
Cabrera is batting .353 while leading the National League in hits and was picked last week as the Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.
Based on all of the information we had at the time, Moore said, and where we were economically and opening up an opportunity (in center field) for Lorenzo Cain it was the right baseball move for our team.
We were a better team, on balance and on paper, when we made that deal. You want them all to work out (for both teams), but most of the time they dont unfortunately. Its just part of the business, and you move on.
The Royals will eat about $2.5 million in guaranteed salary to Sánchez barring a trade or a waiver claim. Neither possibility seems likely especially a waiver claim, which would require a club to take on the balance of Sánchezs salary.
Moore and Yost each expressed hope Sánchez, if he isnt traded or claimed, would agree to go to Omaha.
His stuff is still there, Yost said. You watch him on the side. When he throws on the side, its there, but it gets lost in the transition somehow (to the game).
Sánchez has sufficient service time to reject a minor-league assignment and become a free agent while receiving the balance of his salary. Another club could sign him as a free agent for a pro-rated portion of the $480,000 minimum salary.
The Royals would be obligated for the balance of Sánchezs $5.6 million deal.
Id love to have him in Omaha, Moore said, and try to work through some things. Let me put it this way: If he was just released by another organization, wed be pursuing him to go to Triple-A.