Welcome back, Mr. Infante
As Monday afternoon approached, all rumors ended.
The Detroit Tigers announced a trade that sent promising right-hander Jacob Turner, and two minor leaguers to the Miami Marlins for Anibal Sanchez and past-Tiger Omar Infante. Sanchez, 28, is a right-handed pitcher. He was a component in the infamous 2005 Boston trade that sent him, Hanley Ramirez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia to the then Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett, Guillermo Mota and Mike Lowell. Infante, 30, was apart of the 2006 Tigers that won the American League Pennant to advance to the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, who they would lose 4 games to 1.
Both are crucial pieces to a revamped-Tiger team that has been on a tear, winning 8 of their last 10 games since the All-Star break. Infante provides the team with a true second baseman, which might solve the dreaded Ramon Santiago, Ryan Rayburn and Danny Worth mix that has been frustrating fans for most of the season. He’s a career .276 hitter that will be a more consistent bat in the bottom half of the lineup. At the time of his departure in 2007, Infante had decreased playing time at second, a role that was taken over by Placido Polanco. He had become a utility player that would see seven different positions in just 66 games. Fast-forward five years later, he’s developed into a mature ball player that the team hopes will be a different Infante.
Expectations are high for Sanchez too. He comes to a rotation that lacks a true fifth-starter. Unlike Turner, he has five pitches that give him quite the arsenal against right-handed and left-handed hitters. To date, the most profound moment of his career was on September 6, 2006, when he threw a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 2-0 win. His no-hitter ended the longest no-hitter drought in Major League history; there had been 6,364 consecutive major-league games without a no-hitter since Randy Johnson’s perfect game on May 18, 2004. On a downside, the Venezuela native has had problems staying healthy for a full season and has won more than 10 games only twice in his seven big league seasons.
This transaction shows that Detroit is gearing up for the stretch in hopes to win a second straight division title.
Turner’s departure comes as a surprise for the city of Detroit, because he is a top prospect who has shown in each of his three starts that he is Major League ready. But with young pitchers Drew Smyly, who is 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA on the year, and left-hander Casey Crosby, who has made three starts this year for the Tigers, depth and experience becomes more valuable at this point in the season. Turner is expected to report to Triple-A New Orleans, but it’s obvious he won’t be there for long.
Both teams are also trading competitive balance lottery picks. Detroit will receive one in the 2013 draft that is between the first and second rounds, while the Marlins get one between rounds two and three from the Tigers. This transaction is the first time baseball draft picks have been traded; a rule that is on a limited basis under the new collective bargaining agreement.
Shortly after the trade, Detroit designated minor league left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz for assignment until Sanchez and Infante arrive.
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