If you’re slightly confused about the Toronto Blue Jays’ stance on Aaron Sanchez, you aren’t alone. As Sanchez has put forth a Cy Young-calibre season thus far, the front office has gone back-and-forth on what to do with the team’s stud starting pitcher.
In doing so, they’ve relayed a myriad of mixed messages not only to the players, but the entire Blue Jays’ fan base.
Because the organization hasn’t taken a clear and defined stance on what to do with Aaron Sanchez, it’s left things open for interpretation; whether that’s by John Gibbons, the players themselves or the reporters and bloggers who cover this team.
Things are a little “disjointed” to say the least; which is probably why Ross Atkins is on his way to Houston in an attempt to diffuse things and un-muddy the waters on the Aaron Sanchez situation.
Taking a look at this timeline below and the numerous stances taken by John Gibbons, Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro.
June 14th – John Gibbons spoke to Buster Olney on the Baseball Tonight podcast. When asked about when and if Aaron Sanchez would be moved to the bullpen, Gibby said “It’s gonna happen. For safety reasons, he’s going to end up there.”
June 28th – Ross Atkins tells Blue Jays Central about the Blue Jays’ plans for Aaron Sanchez. “So long as things are trending upwards and in the right direction, there will be no reason to move him out.”
August 2nd – Mark Shapiro appears on Prime Time Sports and reiterates that Aaron Sanchez won’t be allowed to ride out the season in the rotation. “He will not run 230 innings and pitch through October. That’s not going to happen. That can’t happen.”
Last night – John Gibbons tells reporters “We’re still debating what’s actually to happen” in relation to potentially moving Aaron Sanchez out of the starting rotation.
Earlier today – Mark Shapiro tells MLB Network Radio “(Sanchez) is not going to pitch 220 innings this year. He’s not going to pitch 230 innings.”
Nobody really knows where there’s been some deviation from the message here. To me, because the Blue Jays haven’t outright come out and declared what’s happening with Aaron Sanchez, that’s what has led to all this confusion.
Now, the front office probably wanted to keep their decision close to the vest anyway, as it affected how they were to approach the trade deadline. But now that the deadline has passed, it’s crucial for Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins to relay the message from the top down.
Unfortunately for John Gibbons, he’s kind of been hung out to dry and been forced to answer these questions, when he may not even be in a position to answer them. It sounds like the Sanchez situation is ultimately being decided by the front office, and Gibby has merely been the messenger.
Once Ross Atkins gets everybody on the right page – the coaching staff and the players in particular – Sanchez’ eventual move to the bullpen will be met with far less scrutiny. But by leaving things open-ended and not taking a hard stance on the issue, it just leads to dissension within the organization.