Freddy Sanchez wanted a chance to make a better impression on the San Francisco Giants.
That’s why the three-time All-Star infielder was quick to sign a $12 million, two-year contract extension with the Giants on Friday.
“I’m glad I got it done early enough in the offseason so now my focus is on getting stronger and getting better,” Sanchez said. “I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business on the field. A lot was riding on me going out there and playing every day … and it hurt not being out there.”
Article continues below ...
The Giants held an $8.1 million option for 2010 for Sanchez, who was acquired from Pittsburgh on July 29 in exchange for a minor league pitcher. He will make $6 million in each year of the deal.
Sanchez hit .293 with seven home runs and 41 RBIs in 111 games for the two teams this season but played in just 25 games with San Francisco due to a nagging shoulder strain that landed him on the disabled list. He also had surgery earlier this month to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
The Giants, who were in contention for the NL wild-card spot until the last week of the regular season, are convinced Sanchez’s health issues are over.
“One of our goals and priorities this season is to get a more consistent lineup out there on a daily basis, and Freddy does that,” manager Bruce Bochy said during a conference call. “His history is that he plays every day. To have him at the top of your order pretty much every day is going to do a lot for this lineup.”
Sanchez is expected to bat second for the Giants, though Bochy said he will occasionally use Sanchez in the third slot.
Wherever he bats, Sanchez understands the importance of getting his offense back on track. He hit just one home run after being traded to the Giants while his on-base and slugging percentages both dipped significantly.
“I know I didn’t do what I wanted to do when I came here,” Sanchez said. “After my knee and shoulder acted up, I didn’t drive the ball like I expect myself to but I’m not going to pin it on injuries. I know it’s going to come back next year when the season gets going.”
Signing Sanchez was the first player move made this offseason by the Giants, who signed Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean to extensions on Oct. 13.
Sabean said the Giants have had discussions with some of their own free agents, such as catcher Bengie Molina and shortstop Juan Uribe. Molina is a fan favorite who hit 20 home runs this past season but turns 35 next July, while Uribe provided San Francisco a much-needed boost to their lineup late in the year, batting .347 with seven home runs and 21 RBIs in September.
Sabean didn’t comment on Molina but believes Uribe will listen to offers from other teams.
“I get the sense that he’s probably going to test the market first,” Sabean said.
The Giants are also facing a potentially complicated and expensive arbitration process with ace Tim Lincecum, the 2008 NL Cy Young Award winner who went 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA in 32 starts and 225 1-3 innings this year.