Gaby Sanchez arrived in Chicago to join his new team at the beginning of August. He had been a Pirate for eight days when the team went 16 games over .500.

Those eight days served as a preview to what could be. Sanchez then had to sit through the feature film: The disastrous second half that sent the team to a 20th consecutive sub-.500 season.

"We smelled it," Sanchez said. "We didn't get it, but we smelled it. It was within reach. We know what it's going to take to get there. We know where we faulted and what we had to do to have it not happen again."

Sanchez enters the 2013 season in a platoon at first base with the left-handed Garrett Jones. Last season, Jones played his best since 2009, his first year with the Pirates. Sanchez struggled enough with the Miami Marlins that they sent him to Class AAA, and though he performed better after coming to Pittsburgh -- he had a .720 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with the Pirates, .556 with Miami -- he finished the year with a .217 average, a .279 on-base percentage and seven home runs.