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November 10, 2006

Sheffield To The Tigers

From Jon Heyman -

The Yankees and Tigers have agreed on a Gary Sheffield trade, SI.com has learned.

In return, the Yankees will acquire highly touted right-hander Humberto Sanchez and Class A pitchers Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett, according to a Tigers source.

The Tigers will extend Sheffield's contract for two years beyond the one year and $13 million remaining. Sheffield had a physical on Friday.

Sheffield reunites with manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski, who were all a part of the 1997 world champion Florida Marlins.

Sanchez, who will be 24 next season, is an alum from South Bronx High School. He's big: 6'6" and 230 pounds. Throws right - and can gas it up to 95 MPH. His second pitch is a workable curve. His other pitch - a change-up - reportedly needs work. He has 9 games of Triple-A experience to his credit. In 454 minor league career innings, he has walked 230 batters. Yes, he's wild. Lastly, he's had elbow issues in the past.

Whelan was converted from catcher to pitcher while in college. He also throws 95 MPH and has a slider and forkball. His command has potential. He'll be 23-years old next year.

Claggett is 22-years old and - other than one token IP in Triple-A this year - he's yet to throw any pitches above A-Ball.

Whelan and Claggett are at least two years away from having any impact at the major league level - and there's so much that can go wrong for them in that time. Plus, they're not "Grade A" or "Grade B" prospects at the moment.

Humberto Sanchez, to me, has "Esteban Yan" written all over him. I guess that some might see him as having "Armando Benitez" potential. But, the odds say that there's a much greater chance that he will be a "Yan" than a "Benitez."

Come to think of it, name three very-good-to-great RHP, over 6'4" and 215 pounds to come out of the Dominican Republic in the last 30 years.

There's Armando Benitez, Jose Valverde, and Antonio Alfonseca. Maybe, someday, Daniel Cabrera, Franklyn German and/or Jose Capellan will join the list. Not an overly impressive history there, huh?

If this is the best that the Yankees could get for Gary Sheffield, it makes me think that the supposed market for him was way over-hyped.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at November 10, 2006 09:18 PM


What difference does it make if they're from the Dominican or not? Throwing that into those metrics is akin to not wanting a guy because he's 0-3 with a 5.69 ERA in day games played on the road west of the Mississippi.

Posted by: Mr. Faded Glory [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2006 10:00 PM

The only other definite name out there for Sheffield was Linebrink. And I'll take this package over him any day.

Sanchez is a starter (there was some confusion on this because people within the Tigers think he can set up at the big-league level TODAY). He absolutely dominated AA in '06 and was good in AAA. You're looking at someone who could potentially pitch in the Bronx in '07.

Whelan is a highly regarded relief prospect.

There doesn't always have to be a "loser" in a deal. The Tigers gave up two good pitchers BECAUSE THEY COULD. They have plenty of young starting and relief arms. They can give up quality because they have an abundance.

And since Sheff wasn't going to be here anyway, this is like getting a Christmas gift.

But since the players coming back are young and haven't proven themselves on the big-league level yet -- and COULD potentially bomb or get hurt -- I guess they suck.

(Just messing with you, Steve, but for real -- you distrust prospects like a father distrusts his daughter's date on prom night.)

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2006 10:15 PM

I read this guy Sanchez throws a 92-93 mph splitter as well. And he's averaging a K an inning at every level of the minors from what I hear. Steve, I love you, but you are probably the most pessimistic guy in the world when it comes to prospects, and while I agree one shouldn't be overhyped, you seem to relish in not doing so!

Posted by: JeremyM [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2006 10:33 PM

Anyone who thinks that Steve is pessimistic when it comes to prospects hasnt read that he thinks Brett Gardner could be our starting CF in the future. Gardner is going to be nothing more than Jason Tyner with less speed. But Steve thinks this guy is a stud. Also, ynks4life posted earlier that time and again Cashman talks about lowering payroll and promoting from within but then participates in the bidding for Matsuzaka. I cant believe anyone could be so stupid as to not realize that the only advantage the Yankees have is the money. If Cashman doesnt use the fact that we are willing and able to outspend every other team by 200 million dollars than he doesnt deserve to be the GM. Only a retard wouldnt use that to their advantage.

Posted by: Chewbacca [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2006 10:49 PM

IMO, Sanchez has a much better than 'workable' curve. He started for the World in the Futures Game and dominated (albeit for 1 inning, but better than P. Hughes). His curve looked more like a tight slider, and he could throw it for strikes, while throwing a low 90s FB. I'm very happy about this deal. Who knows with the A-ball guys, but Sanchez could legitimately be in the rotation this year - and almost certainly do better than Randy or Wright.

Posted by: Travis G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2006 10:56 PM

~~~What difference does it make if they're from the Dominican or not?~~~

It speaks to the level of training, conditioning, and competition that they had as a non-pro player.

Think about it - a baseball-crazy kid growing up in a rich part of California (like a McGwire or Zito) has advantages over someone growing up in the ghetto in Canada.

This is the same thing - in the states, it's easier to training better, etc., as a pitcher - on the whole - than in the D.R.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2006 11:20 PM

Ignoring the DR thing. Carlos Zambrano is 6'5 250 pounds. If you look at Sanchez he looks a lot like Zambrano.

Daniel Cabrea is 6'7 230 from the DR

CC Sabathia is 6'7 250 pounds from CA

Freddy Garcia is 6'4 235 from Venezuela

Personally I see Sanchez as most like Zambrano with less K's and more groundballs. He should be a solid #3. I like this trade a lot. Whelan also seems to be a relief ace a lot of Tigers fans were more upset about losing him

Posted by: Kyle [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 10, 2006 11:30 PM

According to Baseball America, Sanchez was ML ready this past season but a tender elbow stopped that. Very positive comments on Sanchez.


Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 01:06 AM

I agree with baily. I would tkae two good prospects over a set up man any day of the week, espically one that came from the NL.

Sanchez can be a great starter or a closer and Whelan has closer material written all over him.

Cashman did a great job with Shef and the deal with the Tigers. He was able to get a pitcher that is definitly at the moment the Tiger's #1 pitching prospect and would definitely slid between Hughes and Tabata as the #2 overall.

why does it seem everyone gets down when cashman makes moves that actually make sense?

Posted by: Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 04:22 AM

This is the same thing - in the states, it's easier to training better, etc., as a pitcher - on the whole - than in the D.R.
What do you know about MLB acadamies in the DR?

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 03:37 PM

Sounds like buyers regret.

I think the Yanks made the best trade out there. You have to be excited with the upside.

Posted by: hmrsf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2006 09:09 PM