The Miami Marlins have traded RHP Anibal Sanchez and 2B Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers. The 44-51 Marlins may have just thrown in the towel on the 2012 season in favor of shoring up its farm system. The team will receive three minor leaguers in return from the Tigers, including Detroit's top prospect, RHP Jacob Turner.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports first reported the deal. Turner was the Tigers' first round pick (9th overall) in the 2009 MLB Draft, selected out of Westminster Christian High School in St. Louis. He has made 6 career starts for Detroit, going 1-2 with an 8.28 ERA.
Turner's minor league numbers are more enticing. This season he has gone 4-2 for Triple-A Toledo with a 3.16 ERA in 10 starts. Minor leaguers Rob Brantly (a catcher) and Brian Flynn (a pitcher) will also go to Miami in the deal. Additionally, Miami and Detroit swapped compensatory picks in next year's MLB Draft.
The advanced baseball statistics website Fangraphs.com ranked Turner the 18th best prospect in baseball going into the 2012 season. For sake of comparison, Christian Yelich, the Marlins' top prospect, was ranked 48th in the same list.
Sanchez was due to become a free agent after the 2012 season. He would have likely received lucrative offers from other teams besides the Marlins, making him expendable if the Marlins front office felt the team could not compete for a playoff spot. The team is currently on a five-game losing streak and is eight games behind Atlanta for the second NL Wild Card spot.
Sanchez is 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA this season. For his career, he is 44-45 with a 3.75 ERA over six seasons, all with the Marlins. He joined the team after the 2005 season as part of the deal that brought Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins and sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Boston Red Sox.
Infante has one year remaining on his contract. He is due to earn $4 million in 2013. Emilio Bonifacio will replace Infante at second base, moving over from centerfield. Sanchez' spot in the starting rotation could go to Wade LeBlanc, who has appeared sporadically in long relief situations for the Marlins.
The move reduces the Marlins' payroll by $8 million for the rest of the season, according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.