Evaluating Hector Sanchez Trade to the Milwaukee Milkmen
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier evaluates the trade that sent catcher Hector Sanchez from the Cleburne Railroaders to the Milwaukee Milkmen for a player to be named later.
Milwaukee Milkmen Acquire Hector Sanchez from Cleburne Railroaders
Last Friday, the Milwaukee Milkmen acquired catcher Hector Sanchez from the Cleburne Railroaders in exchange for a player to be named later.
How Hector Sanchez Affects Milwaukee Milkmen
The Milwaukee Milkmen had lost their starting catcher earlier in the week when Dylan Kelly was traded to the Lake Country DockHounds. However, he refused the trade, but Milwaukee was unable to bring Kelly back to the club.
Regardless of whether the catcher would have accepted the trade to the DockHounds are not, Milwaukee was in need of a veteran catcher to lead their staff down the stretch. They also needed one who would fit under the salary cap. Sanchez became the perfect choice.
Hector Sanchez had appeared in 63 games for Cleburne, hitting .220 with 29 runs scored, eight homeruns, and 32 RBI. While his offensive numbers are clearly not as good as Kelly’s, he comes with a whole series of intangibles that make him an ideal choice for Milkmen Manager Anthony Barone. First, Sanchez has a wealth of Major League experience, playing in 347 games for the San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, and San Diego Padres. He is a .238 hitter at the Major League level, producing 21 homers and 120 RBI.
Plus, he is excellent behind the plate. In seven seasons at the MLB level, Sanchez threw out 25% of base stealers. This season he had thrown out 21% for the Railroaders, a significant improvement upon the success for Kelly. While Sanchez is not having the same season offensively that Kelly was having, Milwaukee should have enough offense to make up for the loss of Kelly’s bat.
How the Trade Affects the Cleburne Railroaders
For some, this would have been a sign that the Railroaders were throwing in the towel, but that clearly was not and is not the case. Manager Logan Watkins has this team fired up, and they just swept a huge three-game series against the Gary SouthShore RailCats to jump into the four spot in the East Division.
The trade of Sanchez allowed Watkins to go in two different directions. First, he acquired catcher Mitch Ghelfi, who has a plethora of American Association experience. Ghelfi spent five years in the minor leagues before joining the St. Paul Saints in 2020, where he hit .263 in 30 games. He played for Sioux City in both 2020 and to start this season, hitting around .250 in both years. Ghelfi knows the American Association well and has a solid bat. He does not have the Major League resume that Sanchez does, but is just as qualified to lead this Railroaders pitching staff.
In addition, Ghelfi comes at a reduced cost than what the club would have had to pay Sanchez. That frees up additional money for Watkins to try to improve this pitching staff. That is clearly the biggest need as the Railroaders enter the weekend with the 10th best ERA (5.73). The starting staff has been better over the last couple weeks, but have been abysmal for most of the season and the bullpen needs help since the contract of Hunter Cervenka was purchased. Already, Watkins has acquired right-handers Zac Reininger and Bryon Brickhouse and brought back veteran Jesus Sanchez. Do not believe he is done yet.
Who Wins This Trade?
Both clubs truly win out in this deal as they come away with what they were looking to accomplish. Milwaukee needed a veteran catcher to handle the pitching staff who is a little better behind the plate. They were willing to sacrifice offense for stronger defense and got it. Cleburne wanted to shave payroll to improve the pitching staff, yet still have a veteran catcher behind the plate. The truth is, both teams win and we have not even seen the player that Cleburne will receive in return.
By Robert Pannier