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Detroit Tigers In win-win position with Anibal Sanchez as a potential trade chip or rotation fixture

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SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 24: Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 24, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 24: Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 24, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez has been excellent lately. If he keeps thriving and Detroit sells, the team could net a solid return. The Tigers could also benefit as contenders with Sanchez starting.

Detroit Tigers fans have seen a resurgent Anibal Sanchez as of late.

The veteran has returned from the minors looking like remarkably like the hurler who won the ERA crown in 2013.

Entering Thursday, Sanchez had struck out 14 batters in 17.1 spread over three starts. The starter also allowed just six earned runs, four walks and a home run.

In fact, those three starts helped Sanchez log a 0.4 WAR over the last 30 days. Only Michael Fulmer and Justin Verlander had a higher metric in the same span.

That was before Thursday. On Thursday, Sanchez scattered five hits and two runs across six innings against the San Francisco Giants, striking out eight in the process.

What’s more, he didn’t walk a single batter.

That brings Sanchez’ ERA to 3.12 ERA since returning to the Major Leagues.

Now, his contract, which previously looked unmovable, now could be a potential trade chip.

Related Story: The Tigers officially signed Alex Faedo. See where he ranks in our Tigers prospect rankings

Money

This is all speculative mind you, but a team may be more likely to take a gamble on someone with Sanchez’ recent numbers even though he’s making $16 million this year (per Spotrac).

According to the same publication, Sanchez has a $16 million option for the 2018 season on his contract, but that can reportedly be bought out for $5 million.

Dealing the hurler would certainly help from a financial standpoint for Detroit.

The team will see money owed to Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Francisco Rodriguez come off the books following the World Series.

Adding Sanchez’ $16 million salary to that mix would represent a quick turnaround for a Tigers franchise looking to shed salary.

The Tigers do have Matt Boyd, he of 2.48 ERA in 36.1 Triple-A innings, waiting in Toledo as an extra starting option.

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Detroit can shed even more salary if they move veterans like J.D. Martinez ($11.75 million salary according to Spotrac) and Jose Iglesias ($4.1 million salary per Spotrac).

Staying in contention

Should the Tigers stay in contention, the team could very well keep Sanchez and utilize him as a rotation piece down the stretch.

Having Boyd around in Toledo gives the team plenty of flexibility with Sanchez. Additionally, the team could very well use both hurlers in the rotation moving forward.

With Daniel Norris having an up-and-down campaign, Detroit’s best rotation grouping could include Sanchez, Boyd, Michael Fulmer, Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann.

Next: If you had to pick between J-Up and J.D. long term, who would you keep?

Whichever way the Detroit Tigers season ends up going, whether it be contenders or sellers, the team is in an excellent position with a resurgent Anibal Sanchez.

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