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?

The Friday Breakfast: Adios to the Twins

There’s no shortage of joy when the Tigers face the Twins for the final time during a season. Yes, 2009 included – outcome notwithstanding. And just think, a week from now we can say the same about the White Sox.

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The Tigers are in first place, 8.5 games ahead of the White Sox.

Magic Number: 12

Today’s Game: Tigers vs. Twins – Brad Penny (9-10, 5.13 ERA) vs. Kevin Slowey (0-4, 5.31 ERA) | 7:05 p.m. – FSD/1270 AM and 97.1 FM

Notes on Penny

Penny enters his start this evening having lost four of his last six decisions dating back to July 23. He has compiled a 6.85 ERA over the eight-start stretch.

He’s 2-2 with a 6.31 ERA in seven career starts against the Twins. In 2011, he’s 0-2/7.13.

Penny posted a 4-6 record and 4.54 ERA in his previous 17 starts at Comerica Park.

Notes on Slowey

Slowey’s making his eighth career start and ninth career appearance against the Tigers. Career versus Detroit he’s 5-0, 4.93 in eight games (seven starts).

He started the season in the Twins bullpen, making six relief appearances, posting a 4.91 ERA; He’s 0-4 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts this season.

Slowey’s last start against Detroit was a win on June 30, 2010 at Target Field, allowing one run on four hits in 6.0 innings with one walk and four strikeouts as the Twins won 5-1 over Andy Oliver.

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Leading Off: The Tigers enter tonight’s game against the Twins having won 16 of their last 20 games dating back to Aug. 19, an .800 winning percentage – which leads the majors during that stretch … Detroit’s hitting .333 with runners in scoring position dating back to Aug. 11, second-best in the A.L. clubs over that period. The Tigers lead all clubs with a .284 batting average with RISP this season.

Around the Central: The White Sox and Indians are, theoretically, beating each other up this weekend in a four-game series in Chicago. The Sox took the first game last night, 8-1. The Royals are in Seattle this weekend, in a battle of clubs churning toward 90 losses. The M’s won last night, 4-1.

With a win tonight, Penny would join Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello to become the first quartet of Tigers pitchers with 10-or-more wins in the club’s first 144 games of the season since Verlander, Kenny Rogers, Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman did so in the first 144 games of 2006.

Keeping that thought for a moment, right now Verlander, Scherzer, Porcello and Penny have combined for 58 wins. (Trust me, I’d much rather include Doug Fister in this year’s numbers, but Penny’s been around for the whole year.) In 2006, Verlander (17), Rogers (17), Bonderman (14) and Robertson (13) combined for 61. And in 1984, Jack Morris (19), Dan Petry (18), Milt Wilcox (17) and Juan Berenguer combined for 65. Does the ’11 foursome have enough wins in them between now and Sept. 28 to meet or pass the ’84 rotation?

On this date in 1970, commissioner Bowie Kuhn handed Denny McLain his third suspension of the year, this one for carrying a gun, plus other unspecified charges, and ended McLain’s season with a 3-5 record.

Happy 28th Birthday to Edwin Jackson, and a Happy 41st to Dan Miceli.

Finally, happy birthdays to Adam Sandler (45), Cliff Robertson (88) and Topol (76).

Have a great weekend.

Looking Back on Tigers Gold Glove Winners

MickeyStanley.jpgWell, no Tigers player won a Gold Glove this season, though some held out hope that Austin Jackson might’ve come away with some hardware. His day will come, I’m sure.

Let’s look back at the Gold Glove winners in franchise history:

1957

Al Kaline OF

1958

Frank Bolling 2B

Al Kaline OF

1959

Al Kaline OF

1961

Al Kaline OF

Frank Lary P

1962

Al Kaline OF

Continue reading “Looking Back on Tigers Gold Glove Winners”

Sunday Snacks: Sparky Leftovers

SaltySnacks.jpgAs much as I want to bash the re-signing of Jhonny Peralta, I’m going to rely on lessons learned from 2005 when the Tigers inexplicably signed Kenny RogersKenny Rogers?! — and Todd JonesTodd Jones?!. Those signings turned out pretty well, all things considered.

Besides, I don’t have the energy to get all riled up; watching that Michigan game wore me out.

  • With the exception of the Detroit papers, most obituaries on Sparky Anderson have been wire copy. The notable exceptions include this one from The New York Times and this one from the closest thing to a hometown paper, The Los Angeles Times.

  • On case you were wondering about how the newspaper in Sparky’s real hometown, his birthplace, Bridgewater, S.D., covered his passing, well, they didn’t as far as I can tell.

  • Here’s one more for you on Sparky, courtesy of Chris Jaffe at Hardball Times.

  • The guys at Stadium Journey keep churning out great reviews of ballparks and arenas around the country. Recently they posted their review of Fifth Third Field in Toledo.

  • We all know that the Cardinals had no business beating the Tigers in the 2006 World Series. Now the rest of the world is reminded of it thanks to this piece by Joe Posnanski on SI.com in which he ranks the 10-weakest World Series winners since 1946. Savor the ’06 Cardinals’ ranking: the second-weakest.

  • Speaking of Mr. Posnanski, he wrote a terrific piece, of course, on Sparky.

Finally, Happy 53rd Birthday to Christopher Knight, who played Peter on “The Brady Bunch.”

Non-Sequiturs: Winter Caravan Memories

Tigers thoughts while listening to a pounding rain:
Caravan Logo_1.jpg

  • I attended the Tigers Winter Caravan one time, in 1991 when I was living in Kalamazoo and had some connections with the local paper. Back then, only the media was invited. Or so I thought. I walked into a Kalamazoo hotel and saw dozens of fans asking for autographs from the players and Sparky Anderson.

    If memory serves me, Cecil Fielder was there. Recently signed Tony Bernazard was too. This I remember because I asked Sparky during the Q&A how he’d work Bernazard into the lineup without Tony Phillips losing at bats. The answer was classic Sparky and basically amounted to: “I have no idea but Tony is Tony and we’ll be all right.” Uh, yeah. (Bernazard was released in April after playing in just six games and hitting .167).

    The real story that winter was the recent firing of Ernie Harwell and, lo and behold, new Tigers President Bo Schembechler was on hand to answer questions about it. As you might guess, Bo was not happy with the first round of reporters’ questions being about Ernie and not the team. After that, he said he wouldn’t answer other questions on the topic and though people tried, he wouldn’t bite — other than to bite their head off for even asking.

    It was a great experience. If you get an opportunity to attend a Winter Caravan event, do it.

    Continue reading “Non-Sequiturs: Winter Caravan Memories”

How the Tigers Fare Historically on October 6

TigersMug.jpg On Oct. 6, 2006, Kenny Rogers began etching himself into the Tigers’ postseason lore with 7.2 innings of five-hit mastery of the Yankees at Comerica Park. (As if you’ve forgotten.)

He walked just two and struck out eight as the Tigers beat the Yankees 5-0 — and Rogers slew a personal postseason dragon — to take a two-games-to-one lead in the American League Division Series.

A look through the Tigers history book reveals that they’ve been quite busy on October 6 — when they make the postseason, that is. So, I thought we’d take a look and see if there’s some historical star alignment happening ahead of Game 163. Here’s a deeper look at how the Tigers have performed (or not) in the franchise’s postseason appearances from 1907 through 1987:

Continue reading “How the Tigers Fare Historically on October 6”