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Promoting Bichette would continue rebuilding momentum

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05.07.2019

TSN Baseball Insider

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Toronto Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette is fully recovered from the broken hand he suffered when he was hit by a pitch in April. He is hitting .298 with three home runs and 19 RBI in 32 games played since being activated in Triple-A Buffalo. He is the next position player in line for a call-up to Toronto and is close to being ready.

The Jays have to decide when and if to call him up this year. They could easily justify a call-up and link his service time to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio. They could also easily justify waiting to promote Bichette until mid-April next season to control his service time like they were going to do with Guerrero Jr and get a full extra season of control. They could explain that they have Freddie Galvis and there is no available opening for Bichette right now.

If I were running the Blue Jays, I would do all I could to find a trade for Galvis and/or Eric Sogard at the July 31 deadline. And if I was able to trade one of them I would immediately bring Bichette to the Major Leagues and continue the momentum of the rebuilding process. The issue of controlling service time for Bichette has been diminished by the fact that Guerrero and Biggio have already been called up. The value of his growth with his two buddies is greater than the control of his service time beyond theirs.

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I wrote a couple of weeks ago that it was time to try something dramatic with Aaron Sanchez. My suggestion was moving him to the bullpen to start with and then changing his repertoire of pitches if necessary to protect his fingers from blisters and broken nails. The situation has only gotten worse since then. The Jays are rebuilding as a franchise and they are running out of time to rebuild Sanchez. He has lost his confidence and has bottomed out. If he was ever open to change, now is the time.

If the Jays are going to be dramatic they could send Sanchez to the minors and defend that it has worked for other players (Lourdes Gurriel Jr.), but if that is a plan they only have until Sunday to do it without his approval. Once a player has earned five years of service time he can reject an option to the minor leagues. Sanchez will reach that threshold on Monday.

I wouldn’t send him to the minors but I would put him in the bullpen and I would do it now. I wouldn’t let him start on Friday as he is scheduled. I would bring him for a one-inning stint on Friday night and again on Sunday and get him back to being aggressive. He is trying to avoid contact and miss bats rather than just attacking the zone, as evidenced by the 52 walks he has issued in his 87 innings of work this season. He has allowed the most walks in the Major Leagues.

Going to the bullpen has helped pitchers in the past get back to throwing strikes. I would bring him in to games to start an inning. Schedule it Plan it. That way it allows him whatever time he needs to warm up properly.

Then once he gets a few turns in the bullpen, I would start to figure out what else he can throw to protect his fingers from future injuries. Maybe he has to scrap his sinker and go to a four-seam fastball. I can close my eyes and dream that he........

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