Phillies Transactions

Phillies extend the ascending Cristopher Sanchez

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Cristopher Sanchez and the Phillies have agreed to a four-year contract extension that runs through 2028 with options for 2029 and 2030.

The deal begins in 2025 and buys out his final pre-arbitration year and three arbitration seasons, which would have been 2026, 2027 and 2028.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but the payday for Sanchez comes after a full calendar year of mid-rotation-or-better production. He has a 3.21 ERA in 176.2 innings the last two seasons with 162 strikeouts and just 40 walks. The 27-year-old lefty has experienced a complete career turnaround after walking 99 batters in 181 innings with just modest success at Triple A.

The Phillies have needed Sanchez because Taijuan Walker has been largely disappointing since signing a four-year, $72 million contract prior to 2023. It was Sanchez, not Walker, who made the Phils' only playoff start last October that didn’t involve Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola or Ranger Suarez. And at this point, Sanchez is a No. 4 in name only because the numbers resemble more of a No. 2 or No. 3.

The Phillies originally acquired Sanchez from the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2019 for minor-league infielder Curtis Mead. For a while, it looked like the Rays won the trade. Mead hit immediately at Double A and Triple in Tampa’s system but it hasn’t quite translated yet to the majors, while Sanchez struggled to consistently throw strikes in the minors and majors until being called back up last June to start a game in Oakland.

The Phillies now have Wheeler locked up through 2026, Nola through 2030 and Sanchez through at least 2028 and potentially 2030. Suarez is under team control through the end of next season (2025) and continues to increase the value of his next contract every fifth day.

The rotation has been one of the Phillies' biggest strengths and with its stamina and durability is unlike nearly all others around baseball. It is a staff built more around command and deep pitch mixes than pure power. The Phillies' rotation has carried a heftier workload than any other team's, and despite the long playoff runs of 2022 and 2023, they've all managed to stay healthy.

Conversely, top prospect Andrew Painter underwent Tommy John surgery last summer after first experiencing elbow pain in spring training 2023. He entered that camp as the frontrunner in a fifth starter's battle with Bailey Falter and Sanchez.

Sanchez barely appeared in spring training a year ago because of triceps tightness, and after the Painter injury, the No. 5 spot went to Falter. It didn't work out as Falter went 0-7 with a 5.13. His final start as a Phillie was last May 15, two weeks after Matt Strahm was taken out of the rotation to manage his innings.

The Phillies needed help at the back of their rotation and turned to Sanchez on June 17, and after struggling in 22 big-league appearances in 2021 and 2022, everything clicked and he turned one of the team's major weaknesses into a strength. His changeup had the lowest opponents' batting average in all of baseball last season among pitchers who threw as many.

Here Sanchez is, a year and a week later, with an extension that reflects the trajectory of his rise.

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