Anibal Sanchez takes another licking

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The Tigers struck gold in acquiring Doug Fister from the Mariners last summer. Their big pickup this July, Anibal Sanchez, isn’t working out so well.

Sanchez gave up five runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings Monday to take a loss to the Twins. He was hit in the leg by a comebacker in the first inning, but that didn’t seem to have a lasting impact. Sanchez is 1-3 with a 7.97 ERA since arriving from Miami last month. His lone win in the span came against an Indians team that was on its way to losing 11 games in a row.

Sanchez has been eaten alive by the BABIP gods in his four starts for the Tigers, allowing 35 hits in 20 1/3 innings of work. That’s not to say it’s all singles and doubles doing him in, though; he’s given up five homers. His strikeout rate is also well down, with a 13/8 K/BB ratio to date. He had a 110/33 K/BB ratio in 121 innings for the Marlins.

Perhaps Sanchez has simply been too amped since the trade. He averaged 91.3 mph with his fastball for Miami this year, but he jumped to 92.5 mph in his first three starts for the Tigers. That’d seem to be a good thing under normal circumstances, but he’s also throwing his slider and changeup harder, which might mean they’re not breaking as much as usual.

At least it suggests that his arm is sound, which should mean that Sanchez will turn it around soon. With a nice finish, he’d head into the winter regarded as the No. 2 or No. 3 free agent starter available behind Zack Greinke, putting him in position to land a big contract.

The Marlins made an empty threat. Giancarlo Stanton made an empty promise.

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I covered the main press conference about Giancarlo Stanton earlier, but afterward he and his agents fanned out to various TV shows, radio shows and reporter scrums from which some new, fun things have spun out. Part of what they’ve talked about is silly and meaningless, part of it just meaningless.

Here’s the silly and meaningless, from a Marlins official, apparently, trying to bully Stanton into accepting either the Giants or the Cardinals trades despite the fact that he told them beforehand that he was not willing to go to either of those teams:

This is silly because it comes off like a threat. Like the worst possible thing that can happen to a guy is to stay with the very team that is making the threat. It’s like telling your wife that if she does not leave you, she’s stuck with you forever.

It’s meaningless too, in that Stanton has an opt-out clause after 2020. If the Marlins could not make a trade Stanton would approve, he’d simply collect close to $90 million and then leave at age 30. Oooh, don’t throw me into that briar patch, Mr. Jeter!

Not that Stanton’s people are offering statements of serious gravitas. His agent was asked about Stanton’s opt-out rights, which he retains even though he’s now with the Yankees:

That may very well be true! He just got here and everything is going great so far. It’s totally empty, of course, because anything can happen between now and the fall of 2020. If the big time free agents of the next two years sign for the sort of money that makes Stanton look underpaid, he’ll certainly opt-out, even if he wants to stay with the Yankees. Ask Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia how that works. The opt-out clause is pure, unadulterated leverage for a player and unless he totally craters over the next three seasons he’ll most certainly use it, regardless of present desires.

Which, hey, that’s how things work when a big trade or free agent signing happens. Everyone who has lost looks bad and everyone who won sounds happy. Then, later, the baseball happens.