Padres sign pitchers Sanchez & Tapia to minor league deals

Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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A day after making a big splash in the international signing period, the San Diego Padres made two moves on Monday to add to their bullpen depth, signing right-handers Angel Sanchez and Domingo Tapia to Minor League deals.

Sanchez, a 33-year-old whose only Major League experience came back in 2017 for the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he pitched 12.1 innings with an 8.76 ERA, received an invitation to Spring Training after spending years bouncing around Korean and Japan leagues with mixed results.

Sanchez’s stint with the Pirates saw him come out of the bullpen, but then became more of a starting pitcher in his first year in Korea. In that 2018 season with the SSG Landers, he made 26 starts and three relief appearances while posting a 4.89 ERA in 145.1 innings.

After that season, his numbers improved, including a 2019 season in which he threw 165 innings with a 2.62 ERA. Following the 2019 season, Sanchez went to Japan and transitioned into a reliever role, throwing more than 160 innings with mixed results.

What got the Padres’ attention was his most recent results in the Dominican Winter League for the Gigantes del Cibao. In seven innings, Sanchez posted a 1.29 ERA.

As for Tapia, he is a 31-year-old with a bit more Major League experience, totaling 55 innings between the Red Sox, Mariners, Royals, and Athletics.

His most successful season was in 2021, split between the Mariners and Royals. In Kanas City for the majority of that season, Tapia threw just under 34 innings and posted a 2.84 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 15 walks.

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Tapia had a dreadful 2022 season in Oakland, pitching 17 innings with an 8.47 ERA. He had more walks  (14) than he did strikeouts (12) while spending a significant amount of time in the A’s minor league system.

Tapia throws an above-average fastball, and the Padres hope to unlock some of the success that he had in his 2021 campaign.

Both signings are low-risk, high-reward signings for San Diego in an attempt to add depth to their bullpen heading into a potentially big season for the Padres. While they were certainly in need of help out of the bullpen in the 2022 season, they hope to find some hidden gems like Sanchez and Tapia, like they did with Robert Suarez last season.

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