Detroit Tigers: How Recent Trade Makes Tigers Serious Contenders
Infante is a former Tiger, playing with them from 2002 until the better part of 2007. He started for Detroit in 2004 and 2005, but saw his role reduced in the following two seasons. He is a solid second basemen and will give the Tigers a much needed boost at the position.
Anibal Sanchez was another solid pickup. Although the Tigers traded away their top pitching prospect, Jacob Turner, Sanchez is young and could be a solid No. 3 starter in the rotation.
This trade just boosted Detroit to Central Division favorites and serious postseason contenders. Look out for this team in October, and here is why.
Infante Completes the Lineup
Jason Miller/Getty Images
There is no doubt about it, the Tigers had a huge problem at second base before the acquisition of Infante. Tigers' second basemen combined for a sub-.200 average and just two home runs.
Infante is batting .286 this season with eight home runs and 33 RBIs. He gives the Tigers a much needed offensive boost at the position and a run-producer that they haven't had since the likes of Placido Polanco ruled second base in Detroit.
This has been an issue for Detroit all season, someone to fill the hole at second and give them someone to complete the lineup.
The Tigers have put Danny Worth (.215 average), Ramon Santiago (.216 average) and Ryan Raburn (.172 average) at second base, and the results have been negative. Infante gives the Tigers a solid batter at the position and depth at the bottom of the order. This should boost them into American League contenders.
Sanchez Fills a Hole in the Rotation
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Anibal Sanchez can be a top-of-the-rotation type of pitcher and will look to be a solid No. 3 starter for the Tigers for the remainder of the season.
When rookie starter Drew Smyly went down with an injury last week, Tigers' management was scrambling to find someone to fill the hole in the starting rotation. They made a temporary fix by placing their top pitching prospect, Jacob Turner, in Smyly's position.
This turned out to be a win-loss situation. The win was that teams around the league got to see the young pitcher for the first time and make an idea of who they would trade for him. The loss was that Turner had a rough start against the Los Angeles Angels and his ERA this season in just three games was over eight.
Although the Tigers will have to look for a starting pitcher in the next draft to fill the void left in the minor league system, Anibal Sanchez is a young player with veteran talent. If Sanchez pitches well enough for Detroit, he could find himself going from a rental to a long-term pitcher in the Tigers' rotation.
Team Is Coming Together at Right Time
Jason Miller/Getty Images
The Tigers have won 13 of their last 16 games and have catapulted themselves into a first place tie with the Chicago White Sox in the Central Division.
After a disappointing start to the season and just a 44-42 record at the All-Star break, the preseason American League contenders are contenders once again. There has even been a stretch where the Tigers couldn't win back-to-back games, let alone a series, for the better part of a month.
The team got off to a scorching start to the season, sweeping the Boston Red Sox and beating up on the Tampa Bay Rays. Now they are back on that road, scoring less than four runs just once since the break and losing just three games in that time frame.
With the addition of Sanchez and Infante, it's clear that the Tigers want to win now and are aggressive enough to make a deal to fill both of their positional needs. They are now a complete team and when they get Andy Dirks and Victor Martinez back from injury, watch out.