The Tigers have removed Anibal Sanchez from the rotation and replaced him with left-hander Matt Boyd, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press writes. Sanchez took the move as well as could be expected, manager Brad Ausmus told the media, and Fenech writes that Sanchez spoke with conviction about working to correct his flaws and reclaim his job. Sanchez, who is earning $16MM in 2016, the fourth season of a five-year, $80MM contract, has surrendered a 6.67 ERA through his first 56 2/3 innings of the year. He led the American League with 29 homers allowed in 157 innings last season and has allowed an even more alarming 14 long balls in this year’s 56 2/3 frames while also displaying his worst control since 2009 (4.6 BB/9). Sanchez is owed $16MM once again in 2017, and the Tigers hold a $16MM club option for the 2018 season that comes with a hefty $5MM buyout. With offseason signee Mike Pelfrey struggling so greatly as well, the Tigers are definite candidates to seek rotation upgrades this summer, though the emergence of Michael Fulmer and a recent string of solid outings for Daniel Norris at Triple-A may lessen the urgency.
More from the AL Central…
- The Indians need to trade for an outfield bat in the wake of Marlon Byrd’s 162-game suspension, opines Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Suspensions for Byrd and Abraham Almonte, combined with the shoulder woes of Michael Brantley, has left Cleveland with an outfield mix of Rajai Davis, Tyler Naquin, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez. As Hoynes writes, the Indians “have pretty much said” that top prospects Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier won’t play in the Majors this season, so neither Double-A outfielder seems like an immediate option. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said to Hoynes that the club will “take some time to determine” if a trade is necessary, and he also explained that the club “spent a lot of time working through” Byrd’s first positive test before electing to sign him. Byrd, of course, went three years between suspensions and passed numerous drug tests along the way.
- Twins outfield prospect Max Kepler hasn’t seen much playing time in either of his first two stints at the Major League level, but manager Paul Molitor said that this time around, he’ll get more of a chance at regular playing time, writes MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. The 23-year-old German outfielder raked at a .322/.416/.531 clip at Double-A last season en route to Southern League MVP honors, and he batted .282/.367/.455 in 30 games at Triple-A after being demoted to Rochester earlier this season. Notably, Bollinger adds that the Triple-A coaching staff recommended Kepler over recently demoted Eddie Rosario, who is hitting .333 since a mid-May demotion but still hasn’t drawn a walk in 51 plate appearances.
- Travis Snider will not opt out of his minor league contract with the Royals, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). The 28-year-old had a June 1 opt-out date but will instead remain with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s batted .259/.377/.348 in 162 plate appearances. The Royals have lost Alex Gordon to a fracture in his hand for the time being, so perhaps the hope is that a need in the outfield corner will lead to a promotion in the near future.