Move Some Big Contracts
The Detroit Tigers have a number of significant contracts on the books, and should look to move a few of them in order free up some spending money.
Even if the Tigers have to eat a significant portion of Sanchez’ contract, it could be worth it just to save money. Sadly, this is how far things have gone for a pitcher who finished fourth in Cy Young voting in 2013.
Per Spotrac, Sanchez is owed $16.8 million next season. He has a $16 million option for 2018, but the team can buy him out for $5 million. If Detroit ends up buying the pitcher out, the team will pay $21.8 million for a pitcher with a 6.75 ERA and a 5.62 FIP.
Finding a taker for that contract won’t be easy—it might be impossible—but if the Tigers eat the majority of the remaining money, they could find a taker.
The reality is that saving a few million on Sanchez might be the best option at this point instead of continually trotting him out there in hope that he’ll regain something akin to his 2013/2014 form.
Detroit would be better off handing his starts to someone like Daniel Norris or taking fliers on pitchers hitting the waiver wire. Who knows, the team may even find a contributor that way.
The same logic applies with Lowe in the sense that Detroit may be better off using a 25-man roster spot on a reliever that can be used in high-leverage situations, or at least close games. Lowe has pitched almost exclusively in blowouts since the beginning of June. Since then, opponents are hitting .418 with a 1.195 OPS against the former Mariner.
If Detroit can find a taker for some of his contract, it would be a win-win. Not only would the team save some money, but Lowe’s roster spot could go to a young reliever like Joe Jimenez or Buck Farmer who could be a bullpen mainstay for years.
While the money saved on Sanchez and Lowe wouldn’t make a huge impact in the grand scheme of things, it would allow the flexibility to sign an extra reliever or a bench cog in the offseason.
Detroit has long had a top-heavy roster in terms of salaries. This has meant that the bullpen and bench have suffered as the team doesn’t have the funds to invest. Dealing two struggling pitchers could allow the Tigers to bring in a contributing player.