The Detroit Tigers made a huge move tonight after taking over first place in the AL Central this weekend, picking up Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Marlins. The news was first reported by Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
Detroit has gotten putrid production at second base this year, primarily from Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago. Tigers' second basemen have hit a league worst .201/.286/.276, homering just twice all year. Contrast that to Infante, who Miami acquired in the Dan Uggla trade two winters ago, and has a .287/.312/.442 line this year with eight homers and ten stolen bases. Infante is also an above average defender at second base, an upgrade on that end as well over Santiago and Raburn. Infante is under contract next season for $4 million, a relative bargain for the 30 year-old.
Sanchez however, might be the real prize of the deal. The 28 year-old will be a free agent after the year, but has had an ERA under 4.00 for the Marlins in each of the last four years, and has had a FIP under 3.50 over the last three years. Sanchez strikes a lot of hitters out and has good control, along with a solid low-90's fastball. He'll slot nicely into Detroit's rotation along with Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, and Max Scherzer. That's a scary, scary foursome.
Now, what's going back to Miami in the deal? They're getting some good players in return, highlighted by Detroit's top prospect, 21 year-old starter Jacob Turner. Turner was the ninth overall pick in the 2009 draft, and excelled at every level he pitched at…except the majors. Last year for AA Erie and AAA Toledo, Turner had a 3.44 ERA in 131 innings, striking out 110 and walking only 35. This year in high-A on rehab and at Toledo, he had a 2.77 ERA while striking out 51 and walking 31 in 84 1/3 innings. In 25 career major league innings, Turner has walked 11 and struck out 15 with an 8.28 ERA…yeah. I could definitely see the Marlins sticking him in the rotation right away.
The Tigers are also dealing catcher Rob Brantly, the #7 prospect in the organization. Brantly has just a .719 OPS for AA and AAA this year for Detroit, and he's blocked by Alex Avila in the majors, so the Tigers front office probably deemed him expendable. He's only 23, however. Miami also acquired Brian Flynn, Detroit's #24 prospect. The 22-year old Flynn just made his AA debut this year, and in high-A this year, he had a 3.71 ERA in 102 innings, striking out 84 while walking 32. In addition to the players being moved in the deal, Detroit and Miami are swapping competitive balance draft picks. with the Tigers taking the Marlins' first round pick, and the Marlins getting the Tigers' second round pick.
I like the deal for both sides. The Tigers are clearly pushing their chips all in, while the Marlins have begun to fall into sell mode after a crappy first half of the year. Trading Sanchez, a free agent to be, isn't a huge deal, but trading an above average second baseman like Infante certainly is an interesting move.
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