Sanchez seemed to be enjoying a breakout season for the Giants in 2010, going 13-9, 3.07 ERA and 205 Ks in 193 1/3 IP for the World Series Champions. He also threw a no-hitter but led the NL in walks with 96. He wasn't as dominant in 2011, but missed some time due to injury. His numbers were not bad, as he finished with a 4-7 record, 4.26 ERA while recording 102 Ks in 101 1/3 IP covering 19 starts.
Sanchez' path has been strikingly similar to that of former New York Mets LHP Oliver Perez. Perez enjoyed some success when he came to the Mets at the 2006 trading deadline, which included two NLCS starts. He had a very good 2007 season, finishing 15-10, 3.56 in 29 starts, striking out 174 in 177 IP. Plagued by no decisions, he finished 10-7, 4.22 in 2008 over 34 starts. He had 180 Ks in 194 IP. Similar to Sanchez in 2010, Perez led the NL in walks in 2008 with 105. Perhaps a hard throwing LHP in the NL leading the league in walks is a bad omen.
Yes Mets GM Omar Minaya deserves the blame for signing Perez to that three year contract after the 2008 season. He went a combined 3-9 with an over 6.80 ERA in 31 games, 21 starts over the first two years of the deal before being released in spring training of 2011. But it was Perez who crumbled after the Mets signed him.
Unfortunately for Sanchez, his struggles could not have come at a worse time, being he is due to be a free agent for the first time after this season. A big season in 2012 could have netted Sanchez a nice extension with the Royals or an even bigger deal once free agency hits. Instead, he has to clear waivers and decide if he wants to go back to AAA or become a free agent. It would be in his best interest to return to pitching ASAP; give himself any chance of signing a major league contract for 2013. If somebody does choose to give him a MLB contract for next season, its probably not time to sign Sanchez for 3 years and $36 million.