There's no ambiguity in that headline. There's a report that Jonathan Sanchez is close to signing with the Dodgers. (Edit: It's apparently a done deal). Jonathan Sanchez lists "baseball player" on his 1040, and the Dodgers are constantly hiring baseball players, even though they employ hundreds of them already. So it shouldn't be that surprising. It's not like the headline was "Dodgers close to signing Patrick Willis" or "Alicia Silverstone gets minor-league deal from Dodgers."
But it's a simple sentence with all sorts of embedded meaning. Jonathan Sanchez is close to signing with the Dodgers. Goodness, this whips up a torrent of emotions. I'll stick to a pair of hopes I had for Sanchez, who was a good Giant.
Hope #1: That Sanchez figures it out
This hope is null and void when it involves a Dodgers uniform, of course, but I've been hoping for Sanchez to return to his effectively wild 2010 self, at the very least. If he did it with the Rockies last year, that wouldn't have been ideal, but I would have been okay with it. My big hope was that he would do it with the Pirates this year, as that would be a nice combo of easy-to-root-for situations. Unfortunately, he was another sleeper cell sent over by the Giants to ruin the Pirates. The Pirates probably cuckolded the Giants in 1992 or something, so I'll just keep telling myself they deserve it.
There have been hundreds of pitchers to wear a San Francisco Giants uniform. There aren't a lot with a no-hitter and a championship ring. Lemme see … Livan, nope … Juan Berenguer, nope … yeah, I think it's just Sanchez and Matt Cain. And Cain didn't even get 28 outs. And while it's easy to point out the no-hitter in defense of Sanchez, what about some of the underrated moments? Like his September dominance of the Dodgers, the tremendous slidering that kept the Giants close enough to allow for Brooks Conrad-related magic, and one of the better triples in Giants history.
I want the Giants and Sanchez to be a dissolved marriage that led to good things. No subterfuge, no bubbling emotions below the surface. Just a team and a player, each in a pretty good situation without the other one.
Hope #2: That they'll have to pull in fire crews from every Western state to put out the flames from Sanchez's outings as a Dodger
I'm thinking four no-decisions, each with a superficially low run total. Six innings, six hits, four walks, five strikeouts, and two runs. Something like that. And the Dodgers will think, say, maybe this will work out. Six innings, five hits, five walks, eight strikeouts, two runs. Well, goodness, it sure seems like this could work out!
Two innings, four hits, six walks, six runs, two strikeouts.
Whoops! But think of those other starts, where there was so much promise! And the Dodgers will, so they'll run him out there again. Five innings, seven hits, three walks, six strikeouts, three runs. Not … well, not bad, I guess. Enough to give him a few more chances. Just think of the upside if this works out!
That's when it starts. That's when he goes full Davey Hogan at the pie-eating contests. Before the Dodgers can push the eject button, he'll have given them five outings of pure, unadulterated, walk-fueled nonsense in crucial games. The Dodgers will have stuck a fork in an electrical outlet and wondered why it didn't turn to gold. And we'll laaaaaugh and laaaaaaugh.
Dueling hopes, you see. Sanchez isn't likely to see major-league time if the Dodgers do sign him, of course, so his time as a Dodger will come and go unnoticed. But if he gets a spot start that leads to a spot start, and that spot start leads to another one … oh, man, this could be good.
Or he could lick the magic command lollipop on his way to the Dodgers and be the Sanchez he looked like he was going to be after 2010.
That would be horrible.
So here's hoping Sanchez does well enough in the minors to latch on with another team in the offseason, and then figure things out there. Because the other option would be for him to fail spectacularly as a Dodger. And while I very much want that to happen, I'd fee bad for at least three minutes if it does. It'd be best to avoid those bad feelings altogether.