Well, fans have seen enough Tiger pitching this spring to identify where the issues are. They reside with the usual suspects. Our writers will concentrate on one of those pitchers today, whose future is very much in doubt.
Holly and Kurt have not shared their answers to today’s question. It’s the best way for our readers to get the best bang for their buck. So here’s the question.
It is still very early in spring training, but Anibal Sanchez looked horrible in his first start. If this continues, what do you expect the Tigers to do about him?
Zimmermann, Pelfrey, Lowe and Sanchez – 4 pitchers of concern and 4 different ways of addressing what to do with them should they seriously falter. One will stay because of a lengthy, very expensive contract that no other team will touch, 2 who have just one remaining year and minimal player rights that give the team options but the remaining one will be the sticking point. Anibal Sanchez.
Granted, he pitched in just his first exhibition game, but the man looked totally lost, was visibly upset on the mound and told reporters that he had “no clue” what was wrong. Several scouts said his pitches clocked at the high 80’s.
Personally, I’m surprised he still hasn’t sought the advice of a sports psychologist, the secret weapon of many pitchers. He was a haunted man last year when he pitched and certainly not helped by Ausmus who kept him in games until he was shelled.
But until the team, and Sanchez, try new things, the Tigers are limited in what they can do with him. He’s a 10-and- 5 guy so he can veto a number of moves the Tigers may attempt.
How they address him, should things not pan out, will tell volumes about the team. Because reality says that the $22 million he is still owed won’t be shrugged off especially since they won’t be able to recoup any of it and it will still count towards the luxury tax. It will, however, give us a clue about how Chris Ilitch will run the team and where the priorities lie.
Make no mistake; it won’t be up to Brad to decide if Anibal makes the roster. There’s too many zeroes tied up in the decision so it will be kicked upstairs to at least Al Avila who will definitely have to run it by Chris. Big money has a tendency to keep players on the roster even if they are not deserving.
God help us all if he is given a starter’s spot solely because of the money.
But Avila could also expose him to waivers and if a team grabs him, they either pick up Sanchez’s salary or both teams negotiate an actual trade. If he clears waivers, the Tigers could convince him to head to Toledo to work on his game without the pressure found in Detroit.
We’ve seen countless examples of guys who have stayed with their teams despite stats saying otherwise because, in the end, teams are loathe to simply dump salary and receive nothing in return.
Quite frankly, the Tigers have nothing to lose by sending him to Toledo. He can fill some needs there, work on righting the ship without impacting the standings and potentially help with a spot call-up or two should Tigers pitching become decimated by injuries this year.
We have seen this look before from Anibal. No apparent injury, but plenty of doubt and discouragement. It makes for a difficult situation for the Tigers should this continue.
After last season when he had so much trouble heading beyond the 5th inning, I had hoped there may be a role for him in the pen not unlike what he provided during the playoffs against Baltimore a couple of years ago; something late in the game.
But his confidence has been shattered since then, with injuries thrown into the mix. And the combination of the two has turned Sanchez into a pitcher we just don’t recognize anymore. His ability to locate pitches has left him, velocity is down and he no longer has the ability to keep hitters off-balance.
So what do you do if all of this continues? Well, to me he is headed to the waiver wire. And given his price tag, he would probably clear it. After that, it is up to him what he is willing to accept to try to get his groove back. Because it hasn’t been around for a while. Late last season, he was allowed to work out the kinks with the big club.
But this year, he would have to put on his big boy pants and consider a stint with Toledo, assuming he clears waivers. The Tigers, given the importance of this season, can’t afford to have anyone but their best pitchers on the mound this season.
Once April hits, only your best pitchers should head north, not your biggest investments. This reminds me. The next question will be what to do with Pelfrey. Because he and Sanchez are the 2 head scratchers on this staff. And the question has less to do with their roles on this team than whether they belong on it at all.
So many of you have asked Totally Tigers to include pictures, audio, interviews and polls. Well, now you’ve got ‘em!
And it’s all on our Twitter feed, where we hand-select the best news and post it to feed your need about the Tigers. And in Totally Tigers fashion, we add our own comments so you keep thinking about the game.
Our posts appear before the newspapers can grab them. We cover the controversy and what the local papers are afraid to report. We even hear from the horses’ mouths – direct thoughts from Justin Verlander, Miggy, Ian and more! And in the near future, interactive polls where you can directly participate and see the group results.
If you’re not following us on Twitter, here’s what you’ve missed just in the past couple of days:
– Why the Mets pulled the plug on trading for JD over the winter
– Why the Dodgers were very interested but ended up not trading for Kinsler & JV
– The proof that JV was a better pitcher last year than Porcello keeps on a’ comin’
– Miggy’s new leadership role
– Machado may just be a keeper
– Al Avila keeps filling Toledo with veterans
– More predictions from the pros about where the Tigers will finish
What are you waiting for? Go to www.twitter.com and find us at @totallytigersbb. Make sure to follow us, retweet us and tell your friends!