Free-agent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez has officially signed a five-year, $80 million contract to return to the Detroit Tigers. This move by Sanchez was the right call and makes perfect sense for the Tigers.
Sanchez was traded from the Miami Marlins to Detroit on July 23, 2012 along with Omar Infante for three players and a draft pick. Sanchez posted a 4-6 record with a 3.74 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 12 starts for Detroit that includes a complete game.
The 28-year-old right-hander was considered the second best free-agent starter behind Zack Greinke. The Chicago Cubs thought they had a done deal last night with Sanchez for five years, $75 million but apparently, that fell through in the early hours this morning when he gave the Tigers a chance to match the contract. The Cubs came as close as $77.5 million over five years but Detroit’s extra $2.5 million sealed the deal.
It certainly looks like Sanchez wanted to re-sign with the Tigers all along but wanted to be sure he got paid enough money in the process. Using Chicago as leverage was good for him because it gave him an extra $1 million per season over the five-year span. Not to mention, the starter wanted to play for a contender and the Cubs do not appear to be there quite yet.
It was very important for Detroit to re-sign Sanchez, as he was a huge part of the team’s success down the stretch and into the postseason. He may have had a 1-2 record but his 1.77 ERA, 0.98 ERA and 18 strikeouts in three playoff starts did wonders for the team. Not to mention, he averaged 6 2/3 innings in those three starts, which saved the bullpen on multiple occasions.
Sanchez has been a consistent pitcher in his seven years in the majors in which he has a career 3.75 ERA. His 48-51 record will certainly improve over the next five years, as he will no longer be playing for a Miami team that has lacked in offense.
The price of $16 million per season may seem a bit expensive for a pitcher of his talent but that is what happens in an off-season in which there is not an abundance of good starting pitchers. On the other hand, it is a decent deal in my opinion considering Sanchez is capable of eating up innings and has the necessary stuff to rack up the strikeouts.
Detroit’s rotation will certainly compliment the team’s high-powered offense nicely in the ensuing years and there should be no reason why the Tigers do not make noise in the 2013 postseason.