2017 has been a year to forget for Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez, and it may be time to shut him down until next season. Per Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Sanchez left last night's start against the Boston Red Sox with yet another blister issue, something that has plagued him all year.
Sanchez's troubles with blister have already landed him on the disabled list twice this year, and all signs point to a third trip upcoming. He has made just eight starts on the year and is 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.72 WHIP.
The mighty fall
Toronto had high hopes for Sanchez in 2017, and with good reason. He was 15-2 with an AL-best 3.00 ERA in 2016 and anchored a young and underrated Blue Jays pitching staff. He was also an All-Star and finished seventh in AL Cy Young Award voting in his first year as a full-time starter. He helped Toronto reach the ALCS for the second consecutive year and was expected to continue his ace-like trajectory in 2018.
Instead, Sanchez has struggled to get his blister problems under control and Toronto is now in last place in the AL East, 10 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. The Blue Jays rank 16th in pitching with a staff ERA of 4.48 and a trip back to the playoffs is looking more unlikely by the day.
This means that even if an amazing hot streak is on the way, it's time to put Sanchez on the shelf with an eye towards having him back full force next year.
Shut Sanchez down
There is absolutely no reason that Aaron Sanchez should pitch again this season. The first reason why is simple: blisters are tricky and given Toronto's current standing, best to just let them heal in their own due time. That's a much more effective measure than putting his blisters under a microscope and seemingly willing them to heal at a pace that gets him back on the mound as soon as possible.
This isn't like the same problems Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Rich Hill has had with blisters this year and the last. He's 37 years old and a veteran with a lot of innings under his belt, and he has found his own way to treat an injury that is becoming ever so common among pitchers.
Sanchez's case is different because he only just turned 25 years old. Thus, better for him to take the rest of the year off and take his time in letting his blisters heal. Rushing him back made the problem worse and keeping him out for an extended period of time didn't help either, so best for the last place Jays to keep him out for 2017 and just let his hand heal on its own.
It's not an ideal path for Toronto to take but given Sanchez's overall ceiling, management should err on the side of caution and play it conservative lest they want Sanchez to develop a reputation as being oft-injured.