Anibal Sanchez

Tigers get Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from Marlins

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While the baseball world waits to see if Ryan Dempster to the Braves actually happens, the Marlins and Tigers have pulled off an even bigger trade.

Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that Miami is sending right-hander Anibal Sanchez and infielder Omar Infante to Detroit. According to his colleage Ken Rosenthal the Marlins will get pitching prospect Jacob Turner, plus minor leaguers Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn. And the two sides have also agreed to swap competitive balance draft picks, which marks the first time those have been included in a trade.

Sanchez is a significant upgrade for the Tigers’ rotation, but he’s also an impending free agent set to cash in big on the open market at age 28. He has a 3.75 ERA in 132 career starts, including a 3.94 ERA and excellent 110/33 K/BB ratio in 121 innings this season. And now he joins a rotation that already had Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and Rick Porcello.

Infante was originally signed by the Tigers as an 18-year-old out of Venezuela in 1999. They traded him to the Cubs for Jacque Jones in 2007 and since then he’s also played for the Braves and Marlins. Infante has hit for more power than usual this season, but his .754 OPS is relatively close to his .714 career mark and he figures to play mostly second base for Detroit.

Turner was promoted from Triple-A last week because the Tigers needed rotation help, but after three starts they decided he was worth parting with to bring in a proven veteran like Sanchez. Turner was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2009 draft and ranked as one of MLB’s top 30 prospects in 2010, 2011, and this season according to Baseball America. He’s widely considered one of the top 10-15 pitching prospects in baseball.

At age 21 he may not be quite ready to thrive in the majors, but the Marlins did well to get a legitimate top pitching prospect in exchange for an impending free agent and a good but not great infielder. And obviously the Tigers, after spending all that money on Prince Fielder this offseason and finally taking over first place in the AL Central last week, are fully in win-now mode.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.

Angels’ Pujols has foot surgery, could be sidelined 4 months

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols had surgery on his right foot Friday, possibly sidelining him past opening day.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Pujols had the procedure Friday in North Carolina to release his plantar fascia, the ligament connecting the heel to the toes. The three-time NL MVP was bothered by plantar fasciitis repeatedly during the season, but played through the pain in arguably the strongest year of his half-decade with the Angels.

Eppler said the surgery typically prevents players from participating in baseball activities for three months, along with another month before they’re ready to resume playing in games. Opening day for Los Angeles is April 3, and the Angels hope Pujols can be ready.

“He’s at that point in his career where he’s keenly aware of what’s happening with his body,” Eppler said in a phone interview. “I don’t put the timetable on Albert like you would with your younger players. We’ll just see in Albert’s case, as he progresses, what his timetable is.”

Pujols, who turns 37 next month, batted .268 last year with 31 homers and 119 RBIs, the fourth-most in the majors – although his .780 OPS was among the worst of his career. He largely served as a designated hitter instead of playing first base due to problems with his hamstrings and feet.

Pujols heads into 2017 with 591 career homers, ranking him ninth in major league history. He is 18 homers behind Sammy Sosa for eighth place.

After playing in pain until the final week of the Angels’ disappointing season, Pujols began shock wave therapy on his foot early in the offseason, believing he wouldn’t need surgery.

But Pujols’ foot became more painful in recent weeks despite the therapy, and he huddled with the Angels’ top brass to decide on surgery after his most recent trip to see Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina. Continuing with conservative care would have required 10 more weeks, forcing Pujols to miss the first half of the 2017 season if he still required surgery.

“He just felt that the pain had gotten to a point where he was comfortable” having surgery, Eppler said. “If we did delay it, you’re just looking at 2 1/2 more months into the season.”

Pujols had a different type of surgery on his right foot last winter, but recovered in time for opening day. He also had plantar fasciitis in his left foot during the 2013 season, eventually forcing him out for the year when his fascia snapped.

Pujols has five years and $140 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million free-agent contract that pried him out of St. Louis, where he won two World Series and became a nine-time NL All-Star.

The Angels haven’t won a playoff game since Pujols’ arrival and Mike Trout‘s concurrent emergence as one of baseball’s best players. They went 74-88 last season, the injury-plagued club’s worst record since 1999.