After a holiday feast, guests are often sent home with plates of leftovers. Sometimes the guests make their own plates. The San Francisco Giants took a look at some former Padres on the free agent market and decided to sign Hector Sanchez, Chase d’Arnaud, and Jose Valdez to minor league contracts. It’s okay, the Padres had enough of the main dishes, so what they took was the scrapings left in some of the sides.
The old adage says, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” The San Francisco Giants employed a variation on that theme when they signed veteran catcher Hector Sanchez to a minor league deal. After spending most of his career with the Giants organization, Sanchez came to the Padres early in the 2016 season after being designated for assignment by the White Sox, survived waivers a couple times, and wound up being a significant part of this past year’s team. With Austin Hedges entrenched as the team’s franchise catcher and right-handed hitter Wil Myers at first base, the switch-hitting Sanchez found a role as a backup catcher, spot starter at first base, and lefty bench bat. Unfortunately the bat was cold most of the season, and the falloff in defense during his starts behind the plate was dramatic. While his final line of .219/.245/.423 and his subpar defense made his year an overall negative, his .300/.323/.767 with four home runs and 11 RBI’s against his former team made him a local hero, at least for a couple of weeks. Perhaps the Giants were tired of watching their former guy beat them, perhaps they just need some depth at the position, but in any case the tattooed backstop is back with the Giants organization.
Chase d’Arnaud bounced around the waiver wire last year, starting the season with the Braves, spending about a month with the Red Sox, and finally landing with the Padres in May. The journeyman shortstop spent most of the time in El Paso but made 22 appearances for the Padres, providing quality defense but hitting a paltry .143/.176/.245 on the season. His charisma and his charm made him a media darling, but the performance on the field didn’t merit retention on the big league roster. Best wishes to a likable guy.
Jose Valdez was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels in May 2017 and logged plenty of miles on the El Paso Shuttle. The righty reliever was recalled and subsequently optioned to AAA six separate times throughout the season, claiming the season record over Kevin Quackenbush, who bounced between AAA and MLB five times. Along the way, Valdez posted a dreadful 7.94 ERA across 13 appearances. An extreme flyballer won’t last long in the majors when nearly 30% of his fly balls leave the yard.
These kinds of moves are common but it’s interesting to see three players all move within the division in such a short period of time. The Padres need to add depth at catcher, shortstop, and relief arms, but the minor league free agent market is full of eager job applicants. Let’s just hope that none of these guys come back to exact revenge on the Padres like Hector did against the Giants last year.