The Kansas City Royals had to make a move. They simply had to do something. The fan base was clamoring for some sort of response concerning Jonathan Sanchez and the consistently poor outings every time he was on the mound. The latest was a one-plus inning meltdown that forced Ned Yost to go to the next starting pitching in line to eat up enough innings so the bullpen wasn't ruined for a week.
"The results just weren't very good," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "It was just outing to outing, we kept evaluating it and we just felt a change is required at this point."
However, it's also clear that Moore is hoping his experiment in trading for Sanchez is not quite over yet. The stuff is there. He's thrown a no-hitter. He can still get a hitter to swing and miss. The potential referenced by every baseball scout and writer since Sanchez came to the big leagues is still present -- if only he could hone it. It's the same "if only" questions that have hovered around him to one degree or another since he joined the Majors with the San Francisco Giants.
"I hope he does, because we still believe in him," Moore said. "He's a terrific citizen who works extremely hard. Body language is what it is and I can understand some of the things that maybe frustrate some of our fan base and some other people, but knowing the person ... I'd love to have him in Omaha if he so desired and try to work through some things. Put it this way: If he were released by another organization, we would be pursuing him to go to Triple-A."
That's the choice that Sanchez has to make. If he refuses, then he's likely to be traded or even outright released. It would be the ultimate buy-low trade, so the Royals aren't likely to get much, if anything, in return for him. But pitching is at a premium for most teams, so even a horrific 2012 season might not deter someone from taking a shot at Sanchez.
Still the Royals are hoping that something can work out here for Sanchez to head to AAA and work out his mechanics, to develop some consistency, to shake the pressure. Anything at this point would help and the Royals need something to turn around their fortunes in the rotation.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Moore isn't exactly known for his deft touch at trading and evaluating Major League talent. If Sanchez and/or Ryan Verdugo can show some sort of return, then at least it wouldn't be a total disaster. At this point, it's a complete head-scratcher.
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