Monday, July 23, 2012

Trade Reaction: Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante

The Marlins and Tigers also swap competitive balance lottery draft picks.  So now the Tigers get the 6th pick after the first round and the Marlins will get the 6th pick after the second round. 

The Tigers seem to have addressed both needs according to Dave Dombrowski in one swoop, a starting pitcher and a second basemen.  They were able to keep Nick Castellanos, but top prospect Jacob Turner had to be dealt.

The new Tigers:

Anibal Sanchez – 121 IP | 3.94 ERA | 1.26 WHIP | 8.18 K/9 | 2.45 BB/9 | 3.40 FIP | 3.51 xFIP

Sanchez slides into the rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Rick PorcelloDrew Smyly is likely the odd man out for now and his injury might be more serious than the Tigers had us beleive.  They were also going to limit his innings, so a move to the bullpen is likely if and when he gets healthy.  It will be interesting to see who the odd man out is when the playoffs come around, as teams only need a 4-man rotation (most likely it’ll be between Scherzer and Porcello).  If the Tigers feel that Smyly has earned a spot in the rotation next year, Scherzer or Porcello could be dealt in the off-season.  But first Anibal Sanchez has to be resigned as he is in his final year of his contract.  Compensation draft picks do not get traded with the player as in the new CBA, so the Tigers will get nothing if Sanchez leaves via Free Agency.  Given how much the Tigers gave up for this deal, I have to think that they are going to try to resign Sanchez. 

The Tigers already had the best starting rotation FIP (3.76), xFIP (3.63), SIERA (3.66) and the second best tERA (4.39) in the American League.  So an argument can be made that they were already the best rotation in the AL before adding Sanchez.  However, if Smyly has to be out for a long period of time, the Tigers had to add someone.  Sanchez just isn’t anyone, though.  Over the last 3 years, he has an ERA of 3.69, a strikeout rate of 8.24 K/9, a walk rate of 2.93 BB/9 an FIP of 3.35 and an xFIP of 3.61.  He easily becomes the Tigers 2nd or 3rd best starter and gives the Tigers much needed depth in their rotation.  Dombrowski bypassed an innings eater and went straight for a middle of the rotation starter.

Omar Infante - .287/.312/.442, .330 wOBA, 104 wRC+

Some say second base was the Tigers biggest need.  Infante was rumored as one of the Tigers targets along with Marco Scutaro and Darwin Barney.  Infante already played for the Tigers from 2002 to 2007 where he hit .253/.289/.386.  His past history with the Tigers and Dombrowski’s relationship with the Marlins probably had him #1 on the Tigers list. 

Infante becomes an immediate upgrade for the Tigers as he takes over one, if not the weakest positions.  Tigers 2B were hitting a combined .193/.265/.273, .243 wOBA, 46 wRC+.  Not only were they horrible on offense, but defensively they were near the bottom with a -25 DRS and a -23.5 UZR.  Not only does Infate bring a league average bat with him, but positive fielding (5 DRA and 5.5 UZR at 2B).  Infante is signed through next year at $4 million, so he’ll likely remain the starting 2B until 2014.

The Now Former Tigers:

Jacob Turner – 62 2/3 IP | 3.16 ERA | 1.23 WHIP | 5.74 K/9 | 3.45 BB/9 | 3.58 FIP (AAA)
         - 12 1/3 IP | 8.03 ERA | 1.95 WHIP | 5.11 K/9 | 5.11 BB/9 | 7.85 FIP (MLB)

Rob Brantly – 195 PA | .311/.359/.461 | .362 wOBA | 122 wRC+ (AA)
         - 139 PA | .254/.295/.285 | .269 wOBA | 60 wRC+ (AAA)

Brian Flynn – 102 IP | 3.44 ERA | 1.40 WHIP | 7.41 K/9 | 2.82 BB/9 | 3.22 FIP (A+)

Despite some ML struggles for Turner, he’s still expected to be a #2 or #3 starter.  Brantly’s ceiling is probably an average ML starting catcher and Flynn could be a Duane Below-like player at the ML level.  A few months ago I ranked Turner #1 (althoughby now he’s probably #2 as Castellanos has passed him), Brantly as #6 and Flynnas #14 on the Tigers top prospect list.  The Tigers didn’t get a steal in this trade as all three of these players could be contributors in the majors.  However, the Tigers are in a “win now” mode and this is the price that has to be paid. 

My initial reaction to this trade was a little overpayment on the Tigers side.  Now that I have had time to process it, I give it a win for the Tigers now with a wait and see approach.  Wait and see how far the Tigers make it to the playoffs, wait and see if the Tigers resign Anibal Sanchez and wait and see if the prospects the Tigers gave up reach their full potential.


  1. Nice work Jeff - 3D

  2. Good job! Nice analysis!

  3. Why do you assume the Tigers even make the playoffs?

  4. Wait and see how far the Tiggers make it to the playoffs, aren't you really saying two things--see if they make it to the playoffs, and how far they go once they're in. They've been on their back most of the year, looking up at Chicago

  5. Ok, technically, they have to make the playoffs in order to go "far" in the playoffs. If they miss the playoffs, that just makes the deal that much worse.

  6. Sanchez pitched like he normally does meh and Infante put up all his numbers in the first month of season.

    1. Home run derby today! Willing to give Infante some slack to get used to the teammates and surroundings. So far, and I say so far, Infante has already made an error and we saw what happened today with Sanchez.

  7. Agree with "Anonymous' how can one assume The Tigers even make the playoffs? I seriously doubt if they will. What about Fielder being paid $148,000 per game. $214 million divided by 9; divided by 162. Think he is worth it?