Should Giants fans be happy? Two years, $6 million a year. I’ll leave certain questions for another day (is this market value? how good is Sanchez compared to other possibilities out there?). What I’ll focus on is simple: how good is Sanchez likely to be over the next two seasons?
Sanchez once won a batting title, hitting .344 in ‘06. Since then he has hit .304, .271, and .293. I’d suggest that he is unlikely to hit .300 again … keep in mind in all of this, he will be 32-33 years old, which is when most players are in decline. Of course, if he also got a lot of walks, .293 would be pretty good. You know what the most walks Sanchez has in one season is? 32. Just what the Giants need, another guy who won’t walk. His career OBP is .334, which sadly looks good compared to some of his teammates. If he manages to hit .300 with 32 walks, his OBP will be around .340 … and this is the upside. He doesn’t hit homers (high of 11). He does get doubles, but there, as elsewhere, the trend is unsettling: he led the league in doubles with 53 in 2006, but in the three years since then, he’s had 42, 26 and 29 doubles.
He’s not a great defensive second baseman, although he is not the worst. If you check out his page at Baseball-reference.com, the best match for Sanchez at his age the last two seasons is a 1920s 2B named Cotton Tierney. Like Sanchez, he had a pretty good year when he was 28 years old, then gradually faded. At 32, he was out of baseball; Sanchez will last at least two years longer. Sanchez has been an All-Star the last three seasons, largely because he played for a bad team and every club must have at least one representative.
I see an average 2B, coming off an injury, already in his 30s, whose upside is to continue to be average. Is that worth $12 million?