Anibal Sanchez has not been the star pitcher that Detroit Tigers‘ fans hoped he would be after signing an $80 million dollar contract in the winter of 2012. He has been nothing but a disappointment the last two seasons. He was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen and was even sent down to AAA-Toledo.
There was a time where Anibal Sanchez was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. In the 2013 and 2014 seasons, he went 22-13 and had a 2.92 ERA. During that time he also posted an astounding 8.7 WAR. This was thanks to his nearly unhittable changeup. Sanchez was stellar and someone the Tigers put a lot of confidence in.
The last season and a half hasn’t quite been the same. Sanchez lost command of his change up and has lost a lot of respect from the Detroit Tigers’ organization. Although he was never a pitcher that went late into games, it seemed he couldn’t even get passed the fifth. Which is never a good thing with Detroit’s awful bullpen.
Why Anibal Sanchez?
Sanchez may be a low cost option for some teams. This season, there are teams that have a big need for starting pitching. GMs may not want to spend a fortune on aces like Justin Verlander, Sonny Gray, and Johnny Cueto. So Sanchez could be a viable option.
First, Sanchez has pitched well in his last two appearances. He earned two no decisions against the Mariners and Padres. They were his first two games returning as a starting pitcher from AAA-Toledo, giving up only three runs in eleven total innings.
Also, Sanchez is on the last year of his contract. Although he does have a hefty contract at $16.8 million due this year, the Tigers would ask for next to nothing for a team to pick up his contract.
On his contract, there is also a team option. This could be something of extreme value to a team looking at Sanchez. If he pitches poorly, Sanchez would be merely a rental for the rest of this season. If he continues to perform well like his last two games, a team could choose to use it to keep him for an extra year.
I think it would be very wise for some teams to take a flier on Anibal Sanchez. He hasn’t been great the last two years, but the Detroit Tigers would love to dump his contract. It would be a very low risk move, but it could pay high rewards for a contending club.