Detroit Tigers Free Agent Review: Anibal Sanchez’s final run?

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Does a return to the Detroit Tigers fit for Anibal Sanchez?

We all love nostalgia. It sells and it provides comfort whenever you think about “the good ole days” That is why see the countless rebooted TV series or movies that appear on any of your streaming services. If there was one thing I could stream again, it would be watching the 2013 Detroit Tigers rotation.

It is one of the best rotations in my opinion, in Detroit Tigers’ history. Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Porcello, and Anibal Sanchez all finished with double dight wins, and Sanchez, Scherzer, and Verlander all had 200 or more strikeouts. As Tigers fans, we will always preserve that memory in our minds.

But we may not remember the struggles of Anibal Sanchez as he was trying to regain his 2013 form or why he wasn’t with the Tigers after the 2017 season. He wanted to come back to Detroit. 

“I would love to (come back),” Sanchez said.”But I don’t got control of that. I said that before.” 

The Tigers had a team option for $16 million they could have picked up but decline instead and at the time, who could necessary blame them? In 2016, he posted an ERA of 5.87 and allowed 29 home runs and in 2017, they tried him in the rotation and the bullpen but he couldn’t keep the ball out of the ballpark.

His follow-up season in Atlanta in which he was 7-6 with an ERA of 2.38 was enough to gain the interest of the Nationals in 2019. But now after a season where he led the league in earned runs given up (39) and allowed 70 hits in 53 innings pitched, what could he bring to Detroit?

The Tigers in 2020 were much better defensively and for Sanchez, who pitches to induce weak contact, it did not exactly work out well for him. His sinker was hit at a .538 clip (in 84 times the pitch was thrown)  and his four-seamer was hit at a .441 clip (in 277 times the pitch was thrown) Overall, his spin numbers are down across the board. So, with the better defense the Tigers are putting together, he would have still struggled with the team behind him in 2020.

The first time through the lineup is where Sanchez was rocked the most. .371/.434/.685 with 5 home runs given up and BAbip of .418.  So you are perhaps thinking to yourself, “Rogelio has spent most of this article stating out his stats as all bad news in 2020, where could he go with this?

His last two starts against the Phillies and the Mets in which combined, 10.1 IP, 4 runs, 9Ks and 1 HR allowed, perhaps give you an idea he may have something left in the tank. For a team that lacks a veteran starter at the moment, seeing if Sanchez could come over on a one year deal to eat up innings or see if he could be a reliever is something to consider in a free agent pitching market that lacks star power, outside of Trevor Bauer.

Detroit expressed an interest in Taijuan Walker per reports yesterday, who is younger and no doubt a better option in everyone’s mind who watches baseball.  If they make an offer that is an incentive-laden contract to Sanchez for one year and pitches in whatever Detroit may need him to play, then fine, but I would hope Detroit would have exhausted all their efforts to get better pitching.

Detroit Tigers fans love nostalgia and remembering those great rotations of the early 2010s. For the case of Anibal Sanchez, as much as I liked him as a pitcher, I think Detroit should pass and stay in the warm glow of those memories instead.

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