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Early in the offseason, the Brewers acquired former Blue Jay first baseman Adam Lind, sending Marco Estrada to Toronto in a 1-for-1 trade. While there is an injury risk involved with Lind, he is definitely the first strong first base option the Brewers have had since 2012.
Along with Lind’s injury history is his need for a platoon partner, as the LHH has a career .588 OPS vs. lefties. The Jays went all-out to keep him away from lefties in 2014, when just 12% of his PA’s came against them, half of his lifetime average.
The Crew is likely to keep the tradition alive, as they have been linked to Allen Craig as a potential platoon partner. My thinking is, should the Red Sox want too high of a return for Craig, the Brewers could seek the help of a much smaller name.
According to reliable Pirates fan sources, saying positive things about Gaby Sanchez may be a PR mistake, but I think the Crew could definitely consider him a viable option to platoon with Lind. Though Sanchez was just OK against lefties in 2014 (.746 OPS), one year’s platoon splits aren’t super telling.
Despite that modest number, Sanchez was still above the league average for a first baseman versus left-handed pitching (.731 OPS) in 2014. Over the last three seasons, Sanchez has a more impressive .818 OPS against southpaws in 331 AB. This is largely buoyed by his huge splits in 2013, when he slashed .333/.448/.539 against lefties.
Sanchez admittedly has little value against righties, owning a .596 OPS against them from 2012-2014, but this factors into Sanchez’s bargain status. After being cast off by the Pirates, Sanchez seems to have few suitors, meaning the Crew could bring him in at a very low price, potentially as low as just a Non-Roster Invitee.
There isn’t no market for Sanchez, however, and teams like the Mets and Cardinals who have LHH first basemen who struggle mightily against southpaws could consider him as well.
I do believe that in-house options Luis Jimenez and Jason Rogers would perform well enough in a platoon, but the Brewers are shopping, and if they’re convinced they need outside help, Sanchez makes for a low-risk, medium-reward option.
After all, this is the team that had a pair of infield platoons last season, with three of the four players planted in just one defensive position. If a year of Lyle Overbay is good enough for the Brewers, I see no reason why a decent platoon option in Sanchez is not.