For a while on Thursday afternoon, it looked like a done deal. According to Bob Nightengale, the Chicago Cubs believed they had an agreement to sign free agent right hander Anibal Sanchez. The contract was reported as five years and $75 million.
A short while later, Jon Heyman tweeted that Sanchez’s deal wasn’t done, and that he was in talks with another club as well. Before long, Nightengale concurred with Heyman and it became clear that the Cubs had no idea that Sanchez was taking their offer back to the Detroit Tigers, giving his most recent club an opportunity to match.
Naturally, the Cubs feel like they got played, but to this point Sanchez remains unsigned. It was reported earlier in the off-season that Detroit had offered four years and $48 million to Sanchez and were laughed off, but the Tigers and Sanchez have remained in contact.
Now that Zack Greinke has signed, the starting pitching market is taking shape. Sanchez had been seeking a six or seven year deal and it doesn’t look like he’ll get it, but the $15 million annually is in line with his earlier demands.
The Tigers are obviously a more desirable location in terms of playing a supporting role on a winning club. While Chicago is making moves to rebuild, they appears to be at least a couple years away. Instead of having the pressure on his shoulder with the Cubs, Sanchez could opt to slide into the middle of the Detroit rotation and quietly allow the likes of Justin Verlander to shoulder the load.
The Tigers would love to have Sanchez back and they’ve maintained that he is the only starting pitcher they are interested in signing. If they’re willing to go four years, as they’ve demonstrated, the guess is that the Tigers will eventually relent to the fifth guaranteed year in order to land the player. While $15 million per year is higher than they initially offered, the extra money won’t stand in the way of Sanchez returning to Detroit.
Nothing was resolved as of late Thursday night, but look for Sanchez to be officially off the market at some point soon, most likely on Friday.