Sheffield Traded to Tigers (Rotoworld, 11/10/06)
As part of the deal, Sheffield has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Tigers that will take him through the 2009 season, which should at least guarantee Detroit that he’ll be complaint-free (or as close to that as Sheffield can get) until mid-2008 or so. Sheffield has been one of the best and most underrated all-around offensive monsters in baseball for the past decade, but locking him up to an expensive long-term deal through his age-40 season is also a big risk.
What Detroit may regret even more is giving up three solid young pitchers in Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan, and Anthony Claggett. Sanchez in particular has a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter or dominant late-inning reliever, although he’ll have to get past nagging elbow problems and improve his control to join fellow prospect Phil Hughes in the Yankees’ starting rotation anytime soon.
A massive, hard-throwing 23-year-old right-hander, Sanchez went 10-6 with a 2.63 ERA and 129-to-47 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 123 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2006, holding opponents to a .220 batting average. He’ll likely begin 2007 at Triple-A, but could emerge as a second-half call-up (if the Yankees don’t already have plans to swap him in another trade).
Not only does Sanchez immediately become the Yankees best pitching prospect but they could have had the younger Bobby Abreu for him this Summer and quite possibly won the World Series.