When the Detroit Tigers made the trade for Anibal Sanchez, they were hoping to get a guy that was going to do what Doug Fister did for the Tigers down the stretch last year.
The Tigers had to trade a lot away to get Sanchez. Trading away their top prospect Jacob Turner, catching prospect Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn. The Tigers also received second basemen Omar Infante in the trade.
Sanchez is going to be a free agent at the end of the season. Giving away a lot to get him, will general manger Dave Dombrowski just let Sanchez walk? Or, will he try and re-sign the right hander and give him another shot in a Tigers’ uniform.
It took a few starts for Sanchez to get acquainted to the American League. Getting rocked in three of his first four starts in the AL. Since then, Sanchez has actually put up really good numbers.
In his last five starts, Sanchez is 1-2 with a 1.69 ERA. Which is a drastic improvement from his 4.82 ERA in the month of August. Sanchez numbers overall with the Tigers is 2-5 with a 4.40 ERA.
Since Sanchez has started pitching well over his last five starts, he has shown a lot of promise and ability to pitch in the AL. Sanchez has started throwing harder, touching 98 on the radar gun, and setting batters down at a more efficient pace.
It might not be a bad idea for Dombrowski to start thinking about extending Sanchez for the long term. Being only 28, and has showed that he can be an effective pitcher against American League ball clubs.
Looking at the Tigers rotation, they have a great one through three with Fister, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. If Sanchez can pitch to his career averages (11-12, 3.79 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 1.363 WHIP) it could give the Tigers a tremendously deep rotation.
But how much would it take to sign Sanchez? Being 28, and putting up pretty consistent numbers over the last four seasons, it would take right about 10 or 11 million a year. If Dombrowski was smart he would lock up Sanchez to a three year, 32 million dollar deal. Just putting Sanchez a little over the 10 million mark for the next three years.
Dombrowski could also want to re-purse the avenue of letting rookie southpaw Drew Smyly pitch in the rotation again in 2013. But with just a little over a year and half of minor league time, it could still be too soon to let Smyly pitch in the majors full time.
At 10.6 million a year, it provides an affordable option for the Tigers, and they would get Sanchez right through the prime of his pitching career. It would also be the last time the Tigers would have to worry about their rotation for a few years.
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