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.
Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.
Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.
Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.
Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.
Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.
As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.
You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.