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?

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.”

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”

The Top 10 Tigers Stories of 2008: #2 – The Pitching. Oh, the Pitching.

Number2.jpgIf we had to narrow the Tigers’ dismal 2008 to one culprit it would be the pitching. While Detroit’s offense had many fits and starts throughout the season, the pitching was pretty much the same from March 31 to Sept. 28: awful.

Whether it was Dontrelle Willis‘ sudden inability to throw strikes or Justin Verlander‘s season of wild inconsistency or merely the bullpen’s tendency to do just about everything wrong, the pitching was Public Enemy No. 1 at Comerica Park and 13 other American League parks (not to mention parks across the N.L. West).

One final look at the Tigers pitching woes:

  • Team ERA: 4.91 — 12th in A.L.; 27th in MLB
  • Strikeouts: 991 — 11th / 25th
  • Walks: 644 — 13th / 27th
  • Blown Saves: 26

Oh, what the hay, let’s take a quick look at how the rotation fared:

  • Verlander: 11-17, 4.84 ERA, one (and the Tigers’ only) complete game
  • Armando Galarraga: 13-7, 3.73
  • Kenny Rogers: 9-13, 5.70
  • Nate Robertson: 7-11, 6.35
  • Jeremy Bonderman: 3-4, 4.29
  • Willis: 0-2, 9.38

Yep. Ugly.

But thankfully the 2008 season — and soon this list — is over and done with.