Revisiting the trade for Anibal Sanchez


For many long time Detroit Tigers fan a trade deadline deal for a starting pitcher conjures up memories of the 1987 trade deadline deal for Doyle Alexander. The Tigers gave up John Smoltz in that deal, and every deal for an arm at the trading deadline is constantly compared to it. Last year we compared the acquisition of Doug Fister to the Alexander deal. This season it was the deal for Anibal Sanchez, which is more closely related to the Alexander deal since the Tigers once again traded their top pitching prospect (and another top ten prospect) to get the deal done.

Oct 9, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) pitches the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of game three of the 2012 ALDS at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Through the second half of the regular season it looked like Tigers’ General manger Dave Dombrowski had vastly over paid for the starter (who looks to be a true rental player meant to get this team as far as he can in 2012 alone). However, over the last month or so Sanchez has been very good and in the post season (when the game really matter) he has been pretty good.

Sure, he gave up two earned runs in the ALDS against the Oakland A’s in just five innings. However, he made up for that with seven innings of shut out ball against the New York Yankees in game two of the ALCS. Sunday he gave up just three hits and struck out seven in what was nothing less than a dominating performance. Sure, we could argue the Yanks are beaten and the absence of Derek Jeter has really taken the wind out of their sails. However, nothing can take away from what Sanchez did Sunday or really what he did in the stretch run of the regular season.

Even at 1 -1 Sanchez is doing far better than what Alexander did in the 1987 ALCS. Doyle would go 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA in the 1987 post season. He would also go just 20-31 with an ERA over four in 1988 and 1989. It is hard to call that trade successful. Had the Tigers won the World Series in 1987 or even made it to the big show I think we would remember that trade in a different light.

That really becomes the question, is there anyone on this roster you would not trade for a World Series title?

For me that answer is almost always yes. I would trade anyone not named Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera for a World Series title. There are also a number of players in the Tigers system I would’ve traded for a shot at a World Series title. That includes Jacob Turner, Nick Castellanos, amongst others.

In the end we saw Cabrera accomplish something historic in 2012, we saw Verlander add to his legend this post season, and our Tigers are playing meaningful baseball games in the middle of October. Being six games way from the ultimate goal in baseball is a great place to be. Being up 2-0 on the Yankees with JV headed to the mound is a great place to be, and so far trading Jacob Turner for Anibal Sanchez and a shot at a title in 2012 was a pretty good move to make. We shall see what kind of light we view this trade down the road.

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