OAKLAND -- When the Tigers acquired Anibal Sanchez in July, the widespread belief -- furthered by indications in the organization -- was that he was a two-month rental for Detroit to bolster its rotation for the division race and the postseason. If anybody in the trade had a longer-term fit, it was Omar Infante, under contract through next season to fill the hole at second base.
That might no longer be the case. Or maybe it never was.
A day after team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News that Sanchez is "a player we'd like to keep," he told MLB.com that he acquired Sanchez with the idea of being open toward re-signing him beyond this season.
Dombrowski didn't want to talk in depth about Sanchez's situation, preferring to avoid the potential distraction during the Tigers' postseason run. Still, he confirmed they're definitely open to a new contract for the soon-to-be free agent.
Sanchez does not want to talk about his contract situation until season's end, but he has indicated at various points that he has enjoyed pitching in Detroit in front of large crowds with playoff expectations. Those who know Sanchez indicate he has been treated well since coming over from Miami.
That doesn't mean Sanchez is a lock for next season. He's set to hit the market as one of the top free-agent starters not named Zack Greinke. And the Tigers under Dombrowski have never spent big on a free-agent starter, preferring to build their rotation from within while adding young pitchers before they hit big-market salaries.
The Tigers will head into the offseason with five starters under team control for next season, but four of them set for bigger money. Justin Verlander will make $20 million again next season and the year after, while Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Doug Fister are all up for arbitration. Drew Smyly is the lone cost-controlled starter.
If the Tigers re-sign Sanchez, it would appear likely to come at the expense of one of their arbitration-eligible starters.