The trade deadline isn’t for another week, but the action really started to heat up Monday.
Two big trades occurred. The Tigers acquired Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Marlins for a package revolving around Jacob Turner, while the Yankees picked up Ichiro Suzuki from the Mariners for a couple low-level prospects. Another trade – one that would have sent Ryan Dempster to the Braves in exchange for Randall Delgado – had appeared close to completion, but now there looks to be a good chance it won’t happen.
The Tigers plugged two big holes with their deal, as they’ve been searching for capable starters behind Justin Verlander, as well as a steady presence at second base. Sanchez has appeared to officially put the “injury-prone” tag behind him, as he’s working on a third straight healthy season and a second straight year where he’s put up very good numbers. The right-hander holds a 3.94 ERA and 1.26 WHIP to go along with a terrific 110/33 K/BB ratio over 121 innings and could wind up being the Tigers’ second-best starter.
Infante offers a sure-fire upgrade over a group of Tigers second basemen that have managed to hit just .201/.286/.276 this season. The former All-Star batted .287/.312/.442 with eight homers over 328 at-bats for the Marlins, and he gets to return to where he spent the first six seasons of his major league career.
The deal didn’t come without a cost to the Tigers, as Turner could wind up being a good No. 2-3 starter eventually. He’s put up an 8.28 ERA over six career starts for the Tigers, but the former first-round pick is just 21 years old and boasts a 3.21 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in his minor league career. That’s where he’ll head for now for the Marlins, as Wade LeBlanc will take Sanchez’s spot in Miami’s rotation. The Fish also acquired catching prospect Rob Brantly and lefty prospect Brian Flynn in the deal.
The Ichiro trade doesn’t have nearly the impact that the Tigers/Marlins swap does, both because there aren’t as many players involved and because he’s simply not the player he used to be. But, it’s still quite a shock to see such an iconic figure change uniforms.
Suzuki is sporting an ugly .261/.288/.352 batting line this season after his 1-for-4 debut for the Yankees Monday, and he put up just a .272/.310/.335 line last year. He has hit a much better .289/.320/.362 away from spacious Safeco Field since the start of last season, and he’ll certainly benefit from a cozy new home park. But, the 38-year-old helps fantasy teams with stolen bases and that’s about it at this point. He played right field Monday with Nick Swisher out but will be the Yankees’ regular left fielder when Swisher returns.
Lewis to go Under the Knife
The Rangers thought Colby Lewis was dealing with more forearm issues that resulted in his early removal from a start last week. As it turns out, he has a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, an injury that will require season-ending surgery.
The injury comes at a poor time for the Rangers and also for Lewis, who was hoping to hit it rich this winter in free agency. He’s expected to be sidelined for 9-12 months, so he’ll almost surely have to take an incentive-laden deal and hope to come back around midseason next year. His season ends with a nifty 3.43 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 93/14 K/BB ratio over 105 innings.
The Rangers called up Martin Perez to fill in for Lewis Tuesday, but he’s likely just a short-term fix. They’re interested in both Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke via the trade route, but they also have other options internally. Neftali Feliz (elbow) will need a couple more rehab starts but should be ready to join the rotation next month if needed. Texas has also considered moving Alexi Ogando in from the bullpen.
National League Quick Hits: The Marlins might not be done dealing, as they’re reportedly willing to trade disappointing star Hanley Ramirez and could also entertain offers for Josh Johnson, among others. Johnson was brilliant Monday, limiting the Braves to just one hit while striking out nine over six innings. He left with a blister but is expected to be fine … Francisco Rodriguez blew a save in epic fashion Monday, coughing up a three-run lead while allowing four runs on three hits and three walks. He’s retired just eight of 20 hitters since taking over as closer. Milwaukee could use John Axford for the next save chance … Roy Halladay was blasted for six runs over six innings Monday. Doc insists that he’s healthy and blamed the poor showing on rust … Lucas Duda is expected to be sent down when the Mets bring Matt Harvey up. He’s batting just .140/.260/.233 in July … Jeff Samardzija spun a gem Monday, giving up just one hit over eight shutout innings against the Pirates. He’s allowed just five runs over four July starts. … Drew Pomeranz reported improvement with his arm after playing catch Monday and thinks he'll avoid a DL stint … Matt Garza (triceps) isn’t expected to go on the DL but will likely have his next start pushed back until next week.
American League Quick Hits: The Rays are interested in acquiring Ryan Roberts from the Diamondbacks as they look for help at third base until Evan Longoria returns. Tatman is batting just .250/.306/.357 with six homers and six steals this season, but he hit 19 bombs and stole 18 bases last year and is capable of playing multiple positions … Erick Aybar has been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his right big toe. He’s in a walking boot, but the Angels are still considering him day-to-day for now… Roy Oswalt expects to take his next turn in the rotation after receiving an injection for his ailing back Monday. Scott Feldman pitched very well in his place Monday … Joel Pineiro will undergo surgery to repair a SLAP tear in the labrum in his right shoulder. He’s pitched all year at the Triple-A level … Nick Swisher’s strained hip flexor is feeling better, but he’s expected to miss the entire series with the Mariners … The Angels will limit Ervin Santana to 15 outs in his next outing. It’s an unorthodox technique, but the Angels are running out of options at this point with the struggling right-hander … Jon Lester will make his next scheduled start Friday. The Red Sox had considered skipping him … The struggling Justin Smoak was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after Monday’s game. Mike Carp will take his spot as the regular first baseman.