The Tigers filled two needs in a trade with the Florida Marlins, acquiring starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante. We're going to detail both players a bit before getting to our closing thoughts on the trade.
Although much trade discussion this season seemed to focus on the possibility that Phillies starter Cole Hamels would be available and the better-likelihood that the Cubs would take offers for Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, 28-year-old right-hander Anibal Sanchez flew under the radar. Part of that could be due to the Marlins' large investment in the 2012 season and their hopes to be in the battle for the National League playoffs. Going 3-7 in their last 10 games and falling 11.5 games out of first place in the NL East ended those hopes.
Sanchez has an ERA of 3.94, which is a bit elevated above his xFIP of 3.51. He's striking out a fair amount -- 8.18 per nine innings this season, while walking 2.45 per nine innings. Those are pretty good figures. More strikeouts than Dempster, fewer walks than Garza, and a better xFIP than either of them. (Hamels remains better than any in the trio, but was ultimately an unlikely target and may not be moved at all.)
As far as comparisons to the Tigers' rotation, Sanchez's ERA trails over Verlander. His xFIP slots in a bit worse than Max Scherzer (3.35) but better than Drew Smyly (3.86) and Rick Porcello (3.98). Sanchez's strikeouts and walks are pretty comparable to what Smyly has done for the season, but gets more ground balls and gives up fewer home runs, essentially.
Sanchez's fastball averages in the low 90s. He likes to use his full repertoire of pitches, which includes a slider. His changeup has been a good friend this season as well.
Sanchez threw a no-hitter on Sept. 6, 2006, against the Arizona Diamondbacks only a few months into his rookie season. He suffered shoulder problems during the next few years, reportedly had surgery on his labrum in 2007, and saw his seasons cut short more than once. However, he started 32 games in both 2010 and 2011 and appears set to go a full season again in 2012.
Sanchez is under an $8 million contract this season. According to the Tigers, he is eligible to declare as a free agent after this season.
Sanchez has an ERA of 3.75 for his career.
What do you think of the newest Detroit Tiger?