Tigers Deal Top Prospects To Make Critical Upgrades




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The Deal
The Tigers addressed two pressing needs in a trade with the Marlins, adding a strong No. 3 starter (righthander Anibal Sanchez) and a starting-caliber second baseman (Omar Infante) at the cost of the organization's top pitching prospect (21-year-old righthander Jacob Turner) and its second-best position-player prospect (Triple-A catcher Rob Brantly). Detroit also surrendered Double-A lefty Brian Flynn in the deal.

The two sides also made history by becoming first clubs to exchange competitive-balance lottery draft picks. Miami dealt the final pick in the supplemental first round (currently No. 37) to Detroit for its selection, the final pick in the supplemental second round (currently No. 73).

The last time Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski dealt a first-round draft pick to the Marlins he received Miguel Cabrera in exchange. In fact, he surrendered Detroit's top picks from both 2005 (Cameron Maybin) and 2006 (Andrew Miller) in that December 2007 deal. Few GMs are as active as Dombrowski on the summer trade circuit. Last year he acquired Doug Fister from the Mariners, Delmon Young from the Twins and Wilson Betemit from the Royals. In 2010 he added Jhonny Peralta from the Indians. In 2009 he picked up Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners and Aubrey Huff from the Orioles.

Dombrowski's 2012 pickups will help the Tigers as they attempt to fend off the White Sox in the American League Central. The GM knows that the division title is by far the surest route to the playoffs this year—even with two wild cards—because just three of 14 AL teams are far enough below .500 to rule them out of the playoff hunt entirely: the Mariners, Royals and Twins. To that end, Sanchez slots into the Tigers rotation behind Justin Verlander and Fister, pushing Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello into less vital roles. Infante, whom Detroit originally signed out of Venezuela in 1999, supplants light-hitting Ramon Santiago at the keystone.
 
Marlins Acquire
Jacob Turner, rhp
Age: 21. Born: May 21, 1991 in St. Charles, Mo.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 210.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Westminster Christian Academy, St. Louis.
Career Transactions: Selected by Tigers in first round (ninth overall) of 2009 draft; signed Aug. 17, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Lakeland (FSL) HiA 1 2 1.66 4 4 0 22 17 8 4 1 7 17 1.11
Toledo (IL) AAA 4 2 3.16 10 10 0 63 52 23 22 2 24 40 1.21
Detroit (AL) MLB 1 1 8.03 3 3 0 12 17 11 11 4 7 7 1.95

Turner has the weaponry to profile as at least a No. 3 starter, though in six scattered starts with the Tigers this year and last he's gone 1-2, 8.28 with 15 strikeouts, 11 walks and 34 hits allowed (including seven home runs) in 25 innings. Context is especially important in this case because Turner is the same age as a typical college draft pick this year, and he's already made a fine showing in Triple-A. Case in point: He threw a three-hit shutout for Toledo against Louisville on July 7. (For further context, consider that the high school pitcher drafted just ahead of Turner in 2009, Zack Wheeler, is in Double-A with the Mets.) Turner throws sinking, low-90s fastballs with no apparent effort, and from the same three-quarters arm slot mixes in a curveball and changeup that some evaluators grade out as future 60s on the 20-to-80 scouting scale. Because Detroit signed Turner to a major league deal out of the draft, they used their third minor league option on him this season. He ought to qualify for a fourth option year in 2013, which would afford Miami one more chance to provide further development time in a lower-stress environment.
 
Rob Brantly, c
Age: 22. Born: Jul 14, 1989 in Murrieta, Calif.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205.
Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: UC Riverside.
Career Transactions: Selected by Tigers in third round of 2010 draft; signed June 21, 2010.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Erie (AA) AA .306 46 180 16 55 16 1 3 24 12 17 0 .354 .456
Toledo (AAA) AAA .254 36 130 11 33 4 0 0 6 7 25 0 .295 .285

Brantly offers solid catch-and-throw skills and a compact lefty swing, and his experience level moves him ahead of J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Skipworth on the Marlins' catching depth chart. Brantly won admirers at this year's Futures Game by handling premium velocity and stuff from a stacked U.S. pitching staff and by striking an RBI double into the gap as part of a 1-for-3 day. His swing is geared more toward line drives than loft, but he has the strength to reach double-digit home run totals at his peak. He has showcased an average arm by gunning down 30 percent of basestealers in the minors this season, that on top of a 36 percent showing a year ago. Brantly tools and track record suggest he has a future as a regular catcher, though his similarities with Alex Avila made that proposition a longshot in Detroit.
 
Brian Flynn, lhp
Age: 22. Born: Apr 19, 1990 in Owasso, Okla.
Ht.: 6-8. Wt.: 239.
Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Wichita State.
Career Transactions: Selected by Tigers in seventh round of 2011 draft; signed June 16, 2011.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Lakeland (FSL) HiA 8 4 3.71 18 18 0 102 113 47 42 5 32 84 1.42
Erie (EL) AA 0 1 9.00 1 1 0 5 8 5 5 1 2 3 2.00

Flynn sits 89-92 mph and generates plane on his fastball thanks to a towering 6-foot-8 frame. He effectively reduces opposing batters' reaction times due to the extension he gets on his delivery. Flynn's low-80s cutter breaks like a slider and functions as a chase pitch, though he'll have to develop a changeup to profile as a starter. Still, most teams will gamble on tall lefties with the ability to reach the mid-90s in short stints and a present swing-and-miss breaking ball, even if they do profile as relievers.
 
Tigers Acquire
Anibal Sanchez, rhp
Age: 28. Throws: R. Remaining Commitment: Under contract for $8 million this season, which works out to approximately $1.3 million per month.
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Miami (NL) 2012 5 7 3.94 19 19 0 121 119 59 53 12 33 110 1.26
3-Year Totals
26 28 3.69 83 83 0 512 498 233 210 42 167 469 1.30
 
Omar Infante, 2b
Age: 30. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Under contract for $4 million both this season and next, meaning the Tigers owe him approximately $700,000 this season and the full $4 million in 2013.
Contract details courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Miami (NL) 2012 .287 85 328 42 94 23 2 8 33 12 42 10 .312 .442
3-Year Totals
.294 367 1378 162 405 62 13 23 129 75 171 21 .329 .408

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