Tigers Potential Trade Target: Jonathan Sanchez

One of the things that we have been trying to present here on Motor City Bengals is some realistic options via trades, or through free agency. While some are more realistic than others, there is no doubt that the focus of some of the younger guys that I personally have looked at are second baseman. Second base is clearly a need for the Tigers, but it certainly isn’t the only place they could stand an upgrade. If you follow us regularly and check out the comments sections of our articles, you will see a poster named Sportz, who mentioned Jonathan Sanchez yesterday. There is good reason for that.

For a look at Sanchez, follow through to the next page.

Sanchez, for those not familiar with him, is a left-handed starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Sanchez, who is 29 in a couple of weeks, has spent his entire career with the Giants after breaking in with them in 2006 at the age of 23. After a rough start to his career, Sanchez has settled into a good #4 type starters role, and only inconsistency has gotten in the way of him becoming at least a #3 starter. For his career, Sanchez carries a 4.26 ERA, although it is a quality 3.75 over the last three seasons. Sanchez can be one of the more frustrating pitchers in baseball, dominating at times, yet he shoots himself in the foot with poor command at times. In 2011, he finished the season on the disabled list, watching guys like Eric Surkamp and Ryan Voglesong show pretty well in their opportunities.


Stuff. Sanchez has really good stuff for a lefty as evidenced by his K rate over his career. Sanchez has struck out 9.4 batters per 9 innings with a solid fastball that has averaged 90.7 mph over his career, a solid to good change, and a wipe out slider. He misses bats at a 10.3% swinging strike rate over the course of his career. For reference, that is .02 percent higher than Max Scherzer over his career.

Prime Time. Sanchez is essentially in his prime right now, and his last 3 years suggest that he is capable of putting together some good seasons, especially if the Tigers have him as a 4th or 5th starter. The next 3 or 4 years should be good seasons if healthy.

American League isn’t scary. Often times when you are talking about acquiring a National League pitcher, their inter-league splits are scarier than having to listen or watch anything Justin Beiber does. This isn’t the case with Sanchez. In 89.1 innings against the American League, Sanchez has a very respectable 3.73 ERA.


Command. So far, I have successfully managed to skirt around the main issue why Sanchez isn’t as successful as he could be. He doesn’t throw a ton of strikes. Sanchez has walked a whopping 4.8 batters per 9 innings over his career, meaning there can be a lot of traffic on the bases when he pitches. However, his xFIP over his career is lower than his career ERA suggesting that he isn’t necessarily pitching in luck.

Injuries. Sanchez hasn’t had too much trouble with the injury bug until the 2011 season. In general, he has been healthy, but his two injuries he had last season kind of alarmed me. One was diagnosed as biceps tendinitis, and the other was an ankle injury that mysteriously wasn’t healing. The biceps thing can often be precursor to Tommy John, and the ankle is obviously something he uses to push off of, as it is his left ankle that he hurt.


It’s been pretty widely speculated that Sanchez might be available to teams that are willing to give the Giants a bat in exchange for Sanchez. He has been kind of pushed out of the rotation by Ryan Vogelsong at this point, as the Giants have 6 guys for 5 spots. His contract situation also makes it easier for the Giants to part with him. 2012 is Sanchez’ last year of arbitration before he becomes a free agent the following year. The Giants aren’t exactly big spenders despite the ridiculous Barry Zito disaster, and parting with Sanchez makes sense for them before the season starts.


Sanchez is a good fit. He would give the Tigers a solid 5th starting option. Yes, he would likely be wildly inconsistent, but then again, that’s just what 5th starters usually are. He could be relatively valuable to the Tigers depending on his performance as well. Assuming he sticks with the Tigers throughout the season, they could potentially receive a comp pick the following season, or if they felt it necessary, could deal him at the deadline if they were out of it.

Let us know what you think about the Tigers acquiring Jonathan Sanchez below.

Tags: Detroit Tigers Eric Surkamp Jonathan Sanchez Max Scherzer Ryan Voglesong San Francisco Giants

  • Sam Genson

    While I think he is an interesting option, I have no idea what the Giants would ask for in return that the Tigers could afford to give up.

    • MCBjohnverburg

      @Sam Genson I think Raburn could work, or Young. I think the Giants are interested in getting rid of him. Not because he is a bad pitcher, just, he is the one that doesn’t fit right now for them.

    • ChrisHannum

      @Sam Genson I wonder if they would take Boesch?

      • MCBjohnverburg

        @ChrisHannum@Sam Genson I think they would take Boesch in a heartbeat.

      • woodnick

        @ChrisHannum@Sam Genson trading Boesch would be hard to swallow because, IMO, he’s the best hitting OF we have and it doesn’t look like we have much coming up from the farm this next year.

        • Sam Genson

          @woodnick@ChrisHannum agreed on this – I don’t think is that bad of a fielder either. Makes some good plays and biffs on others (aka, he is average). Boesch > Young if I have any say (but I don’t)

        • ChrisHannum

          @woodnick@Sam Genson I’m no Boesch hater, but if he could be traded for Sanchez I’d probably do it. It’s easier to find somebody to replace Boesch on the free agent market than it is to find a pitcher like Sanchez.

  • woodnick

    He is a very interesting option, but as far as bats, would the Giants be willing to take Delmon Young or Rayburn? Other than them, I don’t see any bats that the Tigers would give up, unless they shock everybody by signing Reyes and trade Peralta to them due to their need at SS.

    • Sam Genson

      @woodnick those were the two names I was thinking as well. I would think Raburn has the greater appeal of the two as he can “play” multiple positions.

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  • jamara23732

    If I am the Tigers I pursue Chris Getz from the Royals good lead-off hitter adds some speed can hit 300 so why not?

    • Sam Genson

      Chris Getz has never even sniffed .300. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/getzch01.shtml

      He is not a good hitter at all and would actually be WORSE than the badness of 2011.

      • woodnick

        @Sam Genson 2 HRs in 3+ seasons are good right? LOL

        • Sam Genson

          @woodnick 2 HRS in 3+ seasons is FANTASTIC…if you are a middle relief pitcher

  • BrandScottK

    I’d be real interested in acquiring Sanchez for the right price. As a Tigers fan in a Giants houesehold, who’s from the Yay Area, Sanchez is everything you mentioned in the article. Wows at times, frustrates to the core at other times. Kinda like Philip Rivers in NFL to some degree. Sanchez would be a real interesting option as 4th or 5th starter and would fill a need. But, you do have issue of what if Turner IS ready next year or year after? Then you have similar situation where there are 6 guys for 5 spots, since as it stands, Tigers have 4 starters set going forward. Interesting option though, that I have been looking at for over a year or two.

    • woodnick

      @BrandScottK If Turner IS ready, then that would be a great problem to have. Major League Starting Pitchers, especially relatively effective ones, are the easiest and arguably the most valuable piece to move.

    • ChrisHannum

      @BrandScottK Statistically speaking, your 5 starters tend to only make about 80% of the starts you expect due to injuries. 6th man is key and Turner needs some seasoning anyway.