The Detroit Tigers have been quiet so far during the MLB Winter Meetings. However, the off-season for the Tigers has not been quiet. The World Series runner-ups signed outfielder Torii Hunter to a free agent contract. The team also renewed a contract with head coach Jim Leyland. Free agents Delmon Young and Jose Valverde were sent packing by the Tigers.
One of the mostpressing needs of the Tiger lineup is pitching. After signing Hunter, the team has eight of nine roster sports set, with several players competing for the left field position. The Tigers will have Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister in their 2013 starting rotation. The big question mark is whether Anibal Sanchez will be included in that rotation.
The Tigers acquired Sanchez from the Miami Marlins around the 2012 trade deadline. The trade also gave the Tigers back second baseman Omar Infante. The Tigers, in win now mode, sent prospects Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn back to Miami.
Sanchez is in for a big payday after an impressive 2012 season. The Tigers pitcher posted an unimpressive 4-6record over 12 games with Detroit. However, Sanchez did put up impressive numbers including 57 strikeouts, one shutout, a 1.29 WHIP and a 3.74 ERA. Prior to the trade, Sanchez had 110 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched with the Marlins, with a 3.94 ERA. Over his six year career, Sanchez has a 48-51 record over 145 games pitched. Sanchez has 733 career strikeouts and a career ERA of 3.75.
Sanchez was also impressive in the 2012 MLB Playoffs. His 1-2 record in three game pitched is unimpressive, but was scarred but the Tigers lack of runs in two games. Sanchez pitched 20.1 innings in the postseason, with 18 strikeouts. Sanchez has a ERA of 1.77 and an impressive 0.98 WHIP.
The Tigers are rumored to have offered Sanchez a contract in the range of $48 million for four years. New reports coming out during the Winter Meetings have Sanchez wanted a long term deal of six or seven years. Reports have Sanchez’s ideal contract listed at $90 million for six years. With several other pitchers on the free agency market, teams are hesitant to offer Sanchez a big deal. If the pitcher really wants a $90 million deal, the Tigers will be smart to let him go. However, with a team in win now mode under owner Mike Ilitch, the Tigers may cave and give Sanchez the lucrative deal he is after.