The Detroit Tigers will be one of the favorites to nail down the American League title again next season after the club announced the re-signing of right-handed pitcher Anibal Sanchez on Dec. 14. The 28-year-old native of Venezuela didn’t come cheap, as it cost the Tigers $80 million to sign the free agent to a five-year contract. The signing should be made official after he passes a physical.
The Tigers now have two of the best pitchers in baseball locked up in their starting rotation as Sanchez will once again team up with Justin Verlander. Sanchez’s contract is similar to Verlander’s, as the Tigers ace signed a contract three years ago that will see him make $79.5 million over five years.
It was reported that Detroit originally offered Sanchez a $48 million contract over four years. However, he eventually received an additional $32 million for an added year.
Sanchez was considered by most Major League Baseball teams to be the second best pitcher in the free agent market following Zack Greinke. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently wrapped up a deal for Greinke when they signed him to a $147 million contract over the next six years. There were also reports that the Chicago Cubs were close to signing Sanchez after they had offered him a five-year deal worth $77.5 million.
Even though he’s considered to be one of the best pitchers in the game, Sanchez is below .500 in his career with a record of 48-51. He’s played for seven years in the big leagues and over that time has pitched 869 innings and has recorded 733 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.75. He was a standout with the Tigers in this year’s postseason, as he posted an ERA of 1.77 in three starts.
Sanchez joined Detroit back in in July after being traded to the club from the Miami Marlins. He was acquired along with infielder Omar Infante in return for prospects Brian Flynn, Rob Brantly and Jacob Turner. The two teams also traded draft choices. During the regular season, he went 4-6 in 12 starts and posted an ERA of 3.74.
With the re-signing of Sanchez, the Tigers may decide to trade starting pitcher Rick Porcello from the starting rotation to try and land an experienced closing pitcher. One trade that has been rumored would see Porcello head to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Joel Hanrahan. It’s also believed the San Diego Padres may be interested in a deal for Porcello.
The Tigers have one of the best starting rotations in baseball at the moment in Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Sanchez, Porcello and Drew Smyly. They posted a combined record of 61-46 with an ERA of 3.60.
If Porcello isn’t moved during the off-season, there’s a good chance that Smyly could be the one moved. If neither of them is traded, they will likely find themselves fighting it out for the fifth starting pitching position during spring training.