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Tigers Trade Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Wheelan and Anthony Claggett for Gary Sheffield

This is cool.  Very cool.

The Tigers traded three of their pitching prospects today for Gary Sheffield.  The Gary Sheffield who’s drawn more walks (1,293) in his career then he’s struck out (971).  The Gary Sheffield with a career .398 OBP.  And the Gary Sheffield with 455 career homeruns.  Of course everything comes with a price.

Humberto Sanchez took the minor leagues by storm in the first half of the season last year and was involved in trade rumors for Alfonso Soriano.  Then he hurt his elbow and ended up throwing only 123 innings because of it.  Whelan was a closer in waiting but he was probably at least one full year away from making it to the big league club.  Same goes for Claggett, who’s probably closer to two years away.

I like this deal.  A lot.  Gary Sheffield, whether he’s 38 or not (which he’ll be Nov. 18) , is one of the premiere hitters in baseball.  He does it all.  I likened him to a Barry Bonds light back when Bonds was winning MVPs.  He gets on base, takes a walk, doesn’t strike out and he drives in runs.  He’ll be playing mostly DH and probably spotting Craig Monroe and Magglio Ordonez out in the corners through out the year.  He seems to have a great relationship with Jim Leyland and that will definitely help.  So if Sheffield plays the whole season, you should expect something to the tune of 30 homeruns, 110 RBIs and .290/.390/510.  He’ll make an ideal hitter in that three spot.  Oh yeah, we also locked him up for three years and he’ll make $28 million in 2008 and 2009.

Out of all the Tigers’ pitching prospects, Humberto Sanchez was the one I would most like to see dealt away.  Prior to 2006, he was fairly mediocre.  He had a career 4.73 ERA through Single A and Double A and was actually set to repeat Double A in 2006 until he started tearing hitters up (86 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings with a 1.76 ERA).  He’ll turn 24 one day after Sheffield turns 38 (Nov. 19).  He started equally well at Toledo but struggled in his last three starts before getting shut down in Auguest.  That elbow worried me too.

Wheelan and Claggett are both 22 and Wheelan played High A while Clagget played Low A.

So we gave up three pretty good arms, but as we all know, there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.  And two of them look like relievers, making the deal even more sweet.  While having a good bullpen is pretty important, it’s also something that’s pretty easy to build through free agent pickups.

The big if is whether Sheffield will be able to stay healthy.  He won’t be playing in the field nearly as much so that should be a huge bonus.  Plus we have the coolness factor of Sheffield possibly hitting his 500th homerun in 2008.  No player has ever hit his 500th homerun in a Tiger uniform (Eddie Mathews already had 503 when the Tigers picked him up late in 1967) so we’ll have the homerun count down to look forward to as well.

[…] The Tigers now have the power hitter they were looking to add to the lineup. Sheffield will likely be the DH but also has some flexibility to play in the outfield if necessary. Brian over at Tiger Blog gives his thoughts on what would be a reasonable expectation from Sheffield at the plate next season: …if Sheffield plays the whole season, you should expect something to the tune of 30 homeruns, 110 RBIs and .290/.390/510. He’ll make an ideal hitter in that three spot. […]

Posted by Gorilla Crouch » Gary Sheffield Traded to Tigers on November 11th, 2006 at 7:20 am

What do you mean there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect? I don’t understand…

And you really think it’s easy to build a strong bullpen through free agency and trades??

Posted by Yankee Fan on November 12th, 2006 at 9:32 pm

First post here. I’d love to see this site gain interest, as it’s tough to follow Detroit in Kentucky.

This is a good trade for the Tigers. There is risk and the Tigers gave up talent, but that talent could flame out as easily as they could ever pitch in the majors. Detroit needed a bat badly and Sheff has it. They just need him to stay healthy.

I wonder if they have an out clause on his wrist, similar to what they have with Pudge’s back and Magg’s knee.

Posted by wade on November 13th, 2006 at 9:55 am

I purposefully held off until the next day to post so I could think about the trade and its implications, fighting the urge to post as quickly as possible.

At first I was pissed because they gave up more than I thought the Yankees were reportedly asking, but I warmed up to it a bit.

As for bullpens, the Tigers assembled their bullpen fairly cheaply with their biggest misstep being the only guy who costs a lot.

Posted by Matt on November 13th, 2006 at 12:33 pm

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