Recapping the Return of Anibal Sanchez

Detroit fans have been spoiled rotten by Mike Ilitch‘s generosity with the Red Wings for 30 years and the Tigers for the past 20. But I thought even he’d reached his limit with the addition of Torii Hunter last month. And I’m so glad to be wrong.

The re-signing of Anibal Sanchez – to a contact equal to Justin Verlander’s 2009 extension – is not only another indication of an owner’s urgent desire to win, it’s a reminder of how the Tigers have become a destination of choice for big-name players.

For a long time, the Tigers had to overpay any free agent with even a hint of interest in playing home games at Comerica Park:

Then the winning came and with it a reputation for being a great place to play. Victor Martinez, Prince Fielder and Hunter further proved that. And now with the re-signing of Sanchez, the Tigers must be considered a threat to add big names for big dollars every year. But back to Sanchez. He was the highest-profile Tigers free agent since, perhaps, Jack Morris in 1990. But unlike Sanchez, few expected Morris to bolt for his hometown Twins. (Juan Gonzalez doesn’t count; no one expected him to re-sign with the Tigers after the 2000 season. And thankfully he didn’t.)

With Sanchez sticking around to permanently replace Rick Porcello as the Tigers’ fourth starter, his impact on the rotation could be just as big as Hunter’s in the everyday lineup.

 

What Others Are Saying

If anything, this deal highlights the differences between operating a franchise that will spend money and one that either won’t or is limited by its market size. The Royals had to trade a premium prospect to acquire two years of Shields. The Tigers can just dip into owner Mike Ilitch’s wallet and sign a free agent — this offseason, Torii Hunter and now Sanchez. The Royals might think of themselves as playoff contenders,but this signing makes it a little less likely that will be the case. – Dave Schoenfield, ESPN.com “Sanchez signing makes Tigers clear favorite”.

Did the Tigers overpay for Sanchez? Something like that is somewhat relative. In a vacuum, yes, the Tigers are paying $16 million to a pitcher who, while productive, isn’t exactly great like his impressive paychecks will say he is. Was he the best available left on the market, though, and a pitcher who can help Detroit achieve their goal of winning a World Series before the Tigers as we know them scatter to the winds? That’s why they acquired Sanchez at last year’s deadline to begin with. Re-signing him is simply giving that plan another go, and it’s hard to blame them considering how close they were to getting it done on the first attempt. – Marc Normandin, SB Nation “Anibal Sanchez might be overpaid, but fits Tigers

When the reclining Tigers finally sat up and took enough notice to get off their original four-year, $48 million offer, the Cubs almost got him. The Cubs still might have had him if they had been willing to enter a bidding war that would have saddled them with a potentially bad contract. – Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun TimesTigers outbid Cubs for Anibal Sanchez — but it was close

Some viewed the Tigers as an underachieving bunch, but that did not sway Tigers owner Mike Ilitch’s commitment to winning a World Series. Like he did last year with Prince Fielder, Ilitch swooped in at the last minute to re-sign Sanchez, which preserved one of the strongest pitching staffs in the league. – Jim Bowden, ESPN.com “The AL Central’s strong offseason

[T]he Sanchez signing was essential to preserve the Tigers’ clearest advantage over their divisional foes — and potential October opponents. Detroit’s postseason rotation – Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Sanchez and Max Scherzer — posted a 5-1 record and 1.02 ERA against Oakland and New York in the AL playoffs. And now no member of that group will be eligible for free agency until Verlander and Scherzer after the 2014 season. – Jon Paul Morosi, FoxSports.com “Sanchez signing gives Tigers an edge

What do you think about the Sanchez contract?

Sheff Checks Out

SheffieldHeadSo Gary Sheffield is calling it quits.

Had he not played for the Tigers, I wouldn’t give this much thought, but he did, so I do.

That’s because there’s been no other Tigers player in my lifetime that has left me wanting more than Sheff.

Sure it would’ve been nice to see something, anything from the likes of Edgar Renteria, Juan Gonzalez or Fernando Vina, but Gary Sheffield was a superstar at just about every stop in his career — and he was bringing his act to Detroit. This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

But a collision with Placido Polanco in July 2007 essentially ended what was shaping up to be a Sheff-like season: .265, 25 home runs and 75 RBI over 133 games. His OPS that season was a hefty (Shefty?) .819.

Alas, we were robbed of what could’ve been three of the most quote-rich years in club history.

In ’08, he appeared in 114 games and hit just .225 but still smacked 19 homers.

Sheffield finishes his career with 509 home runs, 1,676 RBIs and a .292 career batting average. He is 24th on the all-time home run list and 25th on the career RBIs list.

(snip)

Sheffield will be eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame after the 2014 season.

“I am sure it will be mentioned and debated but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame,” Sheffield told the newspaper. “A lot of them don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. If someone wants to debate me, check the stats.”

If Sheff had three full, healthy seasons in Detroit, the stats would’ve been more impressive than they already are.

As it was, this quote from him after the ’07 injury pretty much sums up his Tigers career:

“I can’t be myself,” Sheffield said. “Guys throwing 88 miles per hour, and I can’t do nothing with it.”

Even though he was always one perceived slight from becoming a team’s bad seed, he
was an exceptional player — even though we only saw glimpses in Detroit.

I think Gary Sheffield’s a Hall of Famer. Do you?

Monday Mankowskis: Inge and Peralta More Alike Than You Think

No Tigers baseball for a week, how are you managing? Here in Phoenix we’re prepping for another season of Arizona Fall League action. (More on that later.)

In the meantime, here are some odds and ends from the last week:

  • If you’re still coming to grips with the notion of Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta manning the left side of the Tigers’ infield next season, here’s something I noticed that will either make you feel better or worse – and nowhere in between.

    Based on this year’s stats, it appears that Inge and Peralta are practically twins:

    2010 Stats Inge Peralta
    Games 144 148
    At bats 514 551
    Hits 127 137
    Home Runs 13 15
    RBI 70 81
    Average .247 .249
    On-base Percentage .321 .311
    Slugging Percentage .397 .392
    OPS .718 .703

    Of Peralta, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski last Sunday said: “We don’t know what we will do with his ($7.25 million) option, but would like him back next year as our shortstop.”

    I’m like many Tigers fans: skeptical, at best, about Peralta as a full-time shortstop. True, he’ll bring more pop to the position than either Danny Worth or Ramon Santiago. But that’s not saying much, is it? As for his defense, the 2010 edition of Baseball Prospectus described Peralta as “increasingly immobile.”

    Gee, if we wanted an immobile shortstop, why not give the job back to Carlos Guillen?

    Discuss.

    Continue reading “Monday Mankowskis: Inge and Peralta More Alike Than You Think”

Tigers Today: April 16, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Record: 6-3 — Tied for 1st

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Mariners | 10:10 p.m. ET – Safeco Field, Seattle | On the air: FSD PLUS/1270 AM

Pitching Matchup

Jeremy Bonderman (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (0-0, 3.29 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Off Day

Tigers History Lesson

Today’s Birthdays

On this Date in Tigers History

Wednesday Walewanders

  • Did anyone else notice last night that Dontrelle “Hyperextended Knee” Willis was doing the jump-and-bump on the field after the game? What is he — wait. He’s not thinking. It may be too early to make this call, but I’m going to make it anyway: the D-Train will be the biggest Detroit bust since Darko Milicic.

  • Happy 39th Birthday today to Fernando Vina. I’d rather have Placido Polanco than Vina, but it would’ve been nice to see Vina and fellow post-2003 Tigers risk taker Rondell White taste some of the 2006 goodness. Also celebrating today is late-’70s-era reliever Bruce Taylor (pictured). He’s 54.

    BruceTaylor.jpg

  • Another notable Tigers player born on this day was Hubert Benjamin “Dutch” Leonard. He pitched for the Tigers from 1919 to 1925.

    In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, we discover that Leonard alleged that Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker “conspired to fix the final game of the 1919 season. [Cobb a]cknowledged writing of seemingly incriminating letter.” The Peach was acquitted.

    As for Leonard, James writes:

    Incriminated self in the process of bringing charges against Cobb and Speaker, 1927. Never officially banned; persona non grata after career was over.

    And now you know.

  • Fungo HQ receives some odd requests via email but recently we got one that piqued our interest. Hasbro offered to send us a review model of its new Bulls Eye Baseball tabletop game. They left it up to me whether or not I wanted to write about it.

    Let’s put it this way: I just spent 30 minutes playing the game and had to force myself to quit. It’s a blast.

    You can play it with one or two players and essentially you bounce small steel balls of a tiny trampoline-type deal and the ball bounces into one of the six holes: out, strike, single, double, triple and home run. It took me awhile to get the right touch on the bounce but once I did, I was hooked.

  • Now that Curtis Granderson has taken BP and feels he’s close to coming back, albeit with some pain, the question is: who goes down when Granderson returns?

  • Looking for reasons to feel good about the Cleveland series starting tonight? Check out Bob Nightengale’s roundup in the USA Today.