At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the deal. I had become infatuated with the idea of prying James Shields and possibly Ben Zobrist from Tampa in a similar trade. But the more I look at it, the more I understand and like it.
Before we get into that, let’s take a look at the newest Tigers.
Omar Infante, 30 year old second baseman
-Tiger from 2002-2007. Omar reunites with Ramon Santiago who started with him often in the awful 2003 campaign.
-Hitting .287/.312/.442 with 8 HR, 33 RBI, 10 SB, 23 doubles, 2 triples, a 1.8 WAR, and an OPS+ of 100.
-Not patient. Only 12 walks in 347 plate appearances. Yes, another guy that doesn’t take pitches.
-In around 300 less plate appearances, Infante has already topped his HR output from 2011.
-Hitting .278 against right-handed pitching. Hitting .309 vs. lefties.
-Hit .259 at home in Miami this year. Was a much improved .313 on the road which is a good sign for us.
-Only hitting .211 with runners in scoring position.
-Making $4 million this year and next.
Anibal Sanchez, 28 year old right-handed starting pitcher
-5-7, 3.94 ERA, 110 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched, 1.26 WHIP, ERA+ of 104, 1.4 WAR.
-Only walking 2.5 hitters per 9 innings while striking out 8.2 per 9.
-Here’s an odd split. Righties pound him much more than lefties. Right-handed hitters are batting .288 with 8 HR in 249 plate appearances. Lefties are hitting .229 with 4 HR in 255 plate appearances.
-Has only had one base stolen against him this year.
-5.20 ERA at home this year. 2.88 ERA on the road. Again, this is a good sign for Detroit.
-In 7 of his 19 starts, the Marlins scored 2 runs or less for him. Thus, like Doug Fister, don’t let his win-loss record fool you, despite what old white men might tell you.
-Has allowed only 3 homers in the first three innings this year. However, has allowed 11 from the 4th inning on.
-Throws a four-seamer from 92-94 mph. Has a sinker around the same speed. Has a mid-80’s slider. Throws a changeup, mainly to left-handed batters. Also throws a mid-70’s curveball occasionally.
-Tore his labrum in 2007 and missed over a year. Was hurt again in 2009, limiting him to 16 starts.
-Makes $8 million this year. Will be a free agent after 2012.
There. Now we all know each other a bit more. What are the good and bad about this deal, though?
-The Tigers are a better team than they were before the trade. Infante is an upgrade offensively over anyone we’ve had at 2B this year. And defensively, I think he’s better than anyone other that Worth.
-Sanchez is better than Drew Smyly/Jacob Turner/Casey Crosby in the #5 spot right now. The rotation, already solid, is much deeper now.
-Turner is expendable with such a young staff already in place.
-Two new Venezuelans to replace Ordonez and Guillen in Miggy’s Mafia.
-Better draft pick in the comp rounds next year.
-Our #2 and #3 prospects in the organization are now gone for a guy from the ’03 Tigers and a 3 month rental. I don’t see the Tigers signing Sanchez beyond this year unless he really wows in the final couple months. He’ll command another $8-$10 million per year, at least, as the third biggest pitching free agent this offseason. Plus, Doug Fister, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Alex Avila and others are due for some very big raises to go along with the $20 million deals that JV, Prince, and Big Mig already have.
-Both guys switching from the NL to the AL scares me in the short term, especially Sanchez.
-Sanchez’s injury history bugs me.
-I was really high on Brantly and worry constantly about Avila’s health.
-The fear that Turner becomes John Smoltz.
Drew Smyly will be sent to Triple A when he’s healthy again. Danny Worth will report down, too, for Infante. Andy Dirks is due back soon, and it’ll be a fight to the death with either Ryan Raburn or Don Kelly likely getting the boot. Most of you probably would like to see Ryno gone, but that would leave a surplus of lefties on the bench. And we all know Jim Leyland likes his lefty-righty matchups.
Is the team better? Yes. But I still feel that counting on Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch to stay hot the rest of the way is a big gamble. Ditto on Dirks and Berry. The team still has a big hole in the #5 spot until Victor Martinez is back to form.
One thing is for sure. Dave Dombrowski and Mike Ilitch are committed to winning in the now. You’ve got to respect that.
Otherwise, we’d be suicidal and self-loathing like Indians fans.