Tigers trade for Sanchez and Infante, send top prospect Turner to Miami

Turns out, Sunday’s start by Jacob Turner really did solidify the 5th spot in the Tigers’ rotation.

On Monday afternoon, the Tigers made their first (and possibly only) trade of the 2012 deadline, dealing three prospects and a draft pick to the Miami Marlins for pitcher Anibal Sanchez and 2nd baseman Omar Infante. An official announcement is still pending, as the two teams are still exchanging medical information.

Anibal Sanchez, most known for his no-hitter in September of 2006, is 5-7 on the year with a 3.94 ERA and a WHIP of 1.26. Recently, Sanchez has had many quality starts, but the struggling Marlins have not given him much support. Sanchez is a five-pitch pitcher, with many usable pitches. His last three starts have all been solid ones, with 6 or 7 innings pitched, 7 total runs, 2 total walks, and 18 strikeouts. Like Doug Fister last season, the Tigers hope that a stronger team can allow Sanchez to flourish.

Omar Infante is a name well-known by Tigers fans. Infante made his major league debut in 2003, as the shortstop prospect of the future alongside 2nd baseman Ramon Santiago. Infante struggled during his time in the big leagues, and was demoted to Toledo halfway through the season. In 2004, the Tigers signed Carlos Guillen, taking Infante’s spot in the lineup. Infante was able to find a position at 2nd base, until Placido Polanco arrived in 2005. After that, Infante spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons as a utility infielder, providing some good work when needed. Infante was traded to the Cubs for Jacque Jones in the winter of 2007, then traded from the Cubs to the Braves before the season started. Infante spent three years in Atlanta, ending with an All-Star appearance in 2010. Before the 2011 season, Infante was the cornerstone of the Braves’ trade with the Florida Marlins, for 2nd baseman Dan Uggla. Infante had a good season in 2011, but 2012 has been a rough year for the renamed Miami Marlins. The Marlins are in 4th place within the NL East, and are rebuilding for the future. Infante is batting .287 on the season, with 8 home runs, 33 RBI’s, 42 runs, and an OPS of .715. However, Infante will most likely become the Tigers’ starting 2nd baseman, with a fielding percentage of .982 (good for 12th among all 2nd basemen) and is good for 0.8 DWAR (defensive wins above replacement, making him worth about one win more over an average of all 2nd basemen).

The big news for Tigers fans seems to be the departure of Jacob Turner. Yes, Turner can be a top pitcher, and has a ton of potential still to use. Turner has improved this season, but seemed to be picked to make the team for 2012, which did not happen. The Tigers are playing for a title this year, and Turner is a work in progress that Detroit seems to not have time for.

The other three prospects given up by the Tigers are Rob Brantly (the Tigers’ top catching prospect), Brian Flynn (a tall left-handed pitcher), and a compensatory draft pick. The Tigers will also be swapping competitive balance picks, with the Tigers getting the two lesser picks of five.

The Tigers have traded away a lot of top prospects for legitimate major leaguers, and many of those prospects never panned out. Detroit got Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis!) for pitcher Andrew Miller, outfielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Mike Rabelo, and a couple other pitchers. None of those guys is still on the Marlins. The Tigers received Gary Sheffield for Humberto Sánchez, Kevin Whelan, and Anthony Claggett. None of those guys had more than a game or two of experience with the Yankees. Prospects could be something, but veterans are something.

The Tigers are now finalizing their roster for the 2012 pennant race. I don’t think there will be many other big moves, as the two biggest needs for the team may be filled. The fifth starter will be Anibal Sanchez (barring total disaster) and the 2nd baseman will be Omar Infante.
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As always though, who knows with Dave Dombrowski and Mike Ilitch.

Gordie Fall

Gordon Fall has been around the Detroit sports scene for his entire life and even entered the world with a Red Wings hockey stick in hand. With a variety of connections around the Detroit area, Fall will be presenting the unspoken, yet optimistic truth of our city’s sports scene.