The Miami Marlins, who were thought to be buyers just a few weeks ago, have sent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Jacob Turner, Brian Flynn, and Rob Brantly in what looks like a win-win trade at the moment.
Anibal Sanchez is coming off of career best season in many categories in 2011 and has improved his BB/9 to a career best 2.43 while maintaining a K/9 north of 9.0. Sanchez also has a career best 47.6% ground ball rate but now joins the second worst defense in the game according to UZR. Thankfully, Sanchez has posted FIPs of 3.40 or lower in each of the past three seasons. With luck keeping its dragon-head out of the way he could be a two-win player the rest of the way.
The Tigers only get Sanchez for just over two months and do not get a pick for him leaving via free agency.
Omar Infante is signed through next year at $4M and brings a much better glove to this defense with a +5.5 UZR this season and +8.2 last season. He is probably at least a two-win upgrade over the current Tigers’ second basemen who have hit a combined .191/.265/.273 with a -4.9 UZR and been worth -2.0 fWAR. Ouch!
Infante has hit .287/.312/.442 and is having one of his best power season of his career. Even if he regresses this is an easy two win addition for the Tigers if not more.
But the Tigers, with general manager Dave Dombrowski never shying away from dealing prospects, gave the Marlins a nice package of three prospects with Jacob Turner leading the way.
Turner was my #24 overall prospect and #1 Tigers prospect coming into the season. Turner can touch the mid-90s with his fastball but sits 90-94 and has averaged 92.1 mph on it this season. He generates ground balls with the two-seamer while reaching back for more velocity with the four-seamer. He pairs it with a curveball and change-up which have both been plus in the past and still have the chance to be and a slider/cutter that has been above-average this year. He just turned 21 and still has the chance to be a top-of-the-rotation arm with some proper coaching.
Brian Flynn, who my colleague Andrew Martin interviewed earlier this year, has a mid-90s fastball, slider, change-up, and curveball. He has some trouble with command and can leave the off-speed stuff up in the zone. I profiled him as more of a reliever in the off season and he still may profile there the best but he has a chance to be a starter who can eat some innings and miss some bats if his slider and change-up progress.
Rob Brantly has the chance to be a Big League catcher with an above-average hit tool but he needs a better approach at the plate. He swings too often and his 4.9% walk rate (24 walks in 489 plate appearances) in High-A and above will not hack it in the Majors. He is average behind the plate and has thrown out 32% of attempted base stealers in his professional career.
The Marlins and Tigers also make history and swap draft picks for the first time ever. The Tigers get the #37 pick while the Marlins get the #73 pick in next year’s draft.
The Tigers are ready to win now and this trade does just that for them while the Marlins have three prospects who are near Major League ready and they save over $7M in salaries. This trade looks like a true win-win to me with Jacob Turner being the answer to wins this trade five years from now.
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt