Anibal Sanchez's time in a Detroit Tigers uniform is adeptly summed up in the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens–“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Is there a truer statement for the rise and fall of the Tigers, now former, right-handed starter?
Today, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweeted out, “[t]he Tigers will decline Anibal Sanchez's $16 million option for 2018, general manager Al Avila said.”
The Tigers will decline Anibal Sanchez's $16 million option for 2018, general manager Al Avila said.
— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) October 20, 2017
The worst of times for Anibal Sanchez was pretty bad. Beginning in 2015, Sanchez's performance went from pretty dominate and reliable to nervous breath holding and finger crossing that he could keep the ball in the ballpark. Like the numbers on a gas tank that just keep scrolling up, Sanchez's ERA ballooned from 3.43 in 2014 to over six in 2017 (6.41). The worst of times to be sure.
But it wasn't always like that. The Tigers traded for Sanchez in 2012, amid a playoff chase and eventual World Series berth. The Tigers then signed him in the offseason to a 5 year $80 million, which at the time didn't seem egregious. Especially when he posted a 2.57 ERA in 2013 to lead the American League. These were the good days; until, of course, they weren't.
Sanchez's declined option is a beginning moment of a number of transactions that are most likely to take place for the Tigers this offseason. Names like Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, James McCann, Victor Martinez, and Jordan Zimmermann may find themselves in a different uniform altogether next season.
However, this could be away for the Tigers to save a little bit of money. Had they picked up Sanchez's option, they would have paid him $16 million as Fenech states, it only cost them $5 million to buy out the contract. Now, they could possibly (I hope to God not) resign him for a veteran's minimum and still come in saving money. Only time will tell.
At the end of the day, Sanchez was good when the Tigers needed him to be. But when he was bad, he was awful. This move marks the beginning of the older players hitting the door and creating more room for the younger guys to develop. Best of luck in free agency, Anibal, maybe a change of scenery will be just what the doctor ordered.