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Fish Cash In, Yankees get IchiroPosted on July 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM.
The week before the trade deadline is always exciting. The rumors fly, which usually leads to a couple of big deals. But, yesterday was something completely different. The Detroit Tigers decided that they were really all in and sent one of their best prospects to the Marlins. The Marlins have wisely decided to break up their ill-conceived team. And, a future Hall of Famer was dealt in Seattle. Ichiro Suzuki simply had to walk across to the visitorís locker room and put on a Yankees jersey as the 10 time All-Star was traded from the last place to the first place. The best part of all is that it feels as if the trades are just getting started.
The Miami Marlins trade Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly, and Bryan Flynn.
Not much has gone right for the Marlins since they won the Winter Championship. The team with all the flash is 45-51 and 11 games behind the division leading Nationals. After spending money to sign Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle, the Marlins have disappointed. The fear was that they would stick with the club because of all the money spent and their new ballpark. But, Mondayís deal was exactly what the Marlins needed. Anibal Sanchez has pitched to his career norm this season. In 19 starts, he is 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA along with 8.9 H/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 8.2 K/9. The 28 year old is going to be a free agent after the season and was likely to sign elsewhere. Considering his health history and that he looks as if he has hit his ceiling, the Marlins made the right choice to trade him. Omar Infante is batting .287/.312/.442 with 23 doubles, 8 home runs, 33 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. Heís also an above average defender at second base as his 5.5 UZR and 5 DRS indicate.
Neither an elite talent or a building block for the future, the Marlins acquired three young prospects for their two veterans. Right handed starter Jacob Turner is the highlight of the trade. The 22 year old has made six Major League starts and has been knocked around. But, his Minor League track record spells a pitcher who could be a very solid number two starting pitcher. Heís improved during each Minor League season as he has progressed through each level. This season, his first at triple-A, Turner has made 10 starts and has averaged 7.5 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 6.1 K/9. Working in the low 90ís, Turner is projected to be a very good pitcher.
Rob Brantly is an offensive minded catcher who is a career .275/.333/.385 hitter during his three Minor League seasons. Although he has struggled in triple-A with his power, Brantly still projects to be an average regular. He has power, which could still develop considering he is just 22 years old. Brian Flynn is a 22 year old southpaw who is 6í8Ē, 240 pounds. In 32 career Minor League starts, he is 15-7 with a 3.67 ERA along with 9.2 H/9, 3.6 BB/9, and 7.6 K/9. He doesnít project to have a high end ceiling, but he is left handed, has size, and can still develop.
In all, the Marlins receive three solid prospects for a free agent to be and a second baseman who would likely be best suited to be a utility player. For what the Marlins need, a pitching prospect with a high ceiling along with two solid prospects is exactly the right move.
The Tigers are clearly in a win now mode. They made that clear when the signed Prince Fielder in the off season, but after a disappointing first half, the Tigers are in first place and looking to fill some deficiencies. Their pitching staff is quite short after the dominant Verlander. Doug Fister has battled injuries and Max Scherzer is maddeningly inconsistent. Sanchez fits nicely as a third or fourth starter, at least statistically. But, he may find it difficult to be successful in the American League. However, as a number four pitcher, Sanchez is more than adequate in that role. Infante is acquired because Tigersí second basemen have hit .193/.265/.273 this season. Although Infante isnít a star, he is an upgrade and has a history with the Tigers. He will stabilize the infield as its only plus defender and be adequate at the plate.
The question is whether or not the Tigers paid too much for their upgrades. They are not the deepest of farm systems and they just traded their best pitching prospects along with two solid prospects. They get two months of Anibal Sanchez and a solid second baseman. It seems like they gave up too much because they did, indeed, give up too much. Neither player is worthy of a top prospect. But, the composition of the Tigers has necessitated this move. Second base was a black hole and now the dependable Infante can stay in the lineup. They needed another Major League starter and Sanchez should be able to be a bit better than league average. On the surface, the Tigers gave up too much. But, for a win now team, it is understandable. This will likely be a trade they regret in a few years and considering that they are in first place in the weak Central Division, something they couldíve gotten done for far less.
The Seattle Mariners trade Ichiro Suzuki and cash considerations to the New York Yankees for DJ Mitchell and Danny Farquar.
The Yankees are not getting the Ichiro Suzuki who is a 10 time All-Star. They arenít even getting the Ichiro Suzuki from two years ago. But, they are getting an elite defender by most defensive metrics, a player who can still steal a base, and someone who they hope can become a cross between his 2010 self and the player heís been over the past two seasons. And, they get him for two pitchers who were never in their plans and who donít project to being Major League regulars. Even better, the Yankees got the Mariners to pay $5 of the $7 million Suzuki is owed for the rest of the season.
It was time for Suzuki to leave Seattle. He will go down as one of the best players in franchise history, but clearly their rebuilding effort was not a fit for the 38 year old. There has always been speculation that Suzuki was aloof and never popular in the Seattle clubhouse. One anonymous player was even quoted as saying he wanted to punch him. But, few could match the right fielderís work ethic and excellence on the field. It was just time to part ways as the gap between taking care of a franchise icon and rebuilding the franchise became too wide. Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik did treat his star correctly as he put Suzuki in first place with the trade without acquiring any difference making talent.
For the Yankees, this is a no-lose deal. While many are trying to paint the picture of Suzuki being reborn in the Bronx, that is unrealistic. The Yankees donít need that anyway. Their intentions are clear. Suzuki wonít be catered to. He hit eighth in the order during his Yankees debut. Joe Girardi stated that Suzuki will hit in the bottom third of the order for the foreseeable future. Once Nick Swisher returns, Suzuki will move to left field. The Yankees arenít acquiring him to be an elite player. They are acquiring him to fill a role at the bottom of the lineup, steal some bases, and play good defense. At 38 years old, Suzuki is more than capable. The trade allows the Yankees to move Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez back to a predominantly DH role, keeping them healthier.
If Suzuki continues to be the .262/.288/.352 hitter he has been this season, the Yankees wonít play him everyday. Heíll finish the season as a role player. But, if he can find some of his old form and get on base even at a .325 clip for the rest of the season, he is a big upgrade over Dwayne Wise and his defense will more than make up for any offensive issues. He is no longer a star, but on the Yankees he doesnít have to be.
Maybe, just maybe, he finds a portion of his old self as a result of a pennant race. Elite athletes do need that extreme competition and pressure to perform at peak level. Has Suzuki lost focus in Seattle over the past two seasons or has he aged? Nobody knows, but the answer is likely in the middle. For the Yankees, that answer would be more than enough.
BORN: April 17, 1975 (38)
JOINED: Oct 26, 2003 (9 years, 208 days ago)
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JOINED: Oct 26, 2003 (9 years, 208 days ago)
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