The Chicago Cubs and Anibal Sanchez reportedly had reached a deal on a five-year, $75 million contract as of early Thursday night.
Not so fast.
Both Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that Sanchez is instead giving the Detroit Tigers one last chance to beat the Cubs’ offer — Nightengale added that the Tigers are believed to have offered Sanchez a four-year deal, prior to this recent breakthrough with the Cubs.
That $75 million-over-five years deal puts Sanchez at an average of $15 million per year. The question now is if the Tigers and GM Dave Dombrowski are willing to up the ante to at least $16 million per season through 2017.
The MLB Network’s Dan Pleasac weighed in:
Sounds like #Tigers and Anibal Sanchez might end up with a deal. #Cubs offer being countered by Detroit. My gut says he goes back 2 Motown.
— Dan Plesac (@Plesac19) December 14, 2012
Will the Tigers feel any additional pressure now that the Angels have added outfielder Josh Hamilton, giving them a lineup that may surpass Detroit’s in pure star power?
Without re-signing Sanchez, Detroit likely would go with Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly at the four and five spots in the rotation. However, CBS’ Danny Knobler reported earlier in the week that “plenty of teams” were interested in trading for Porcello and that multiple National League GMs inquired about the young right-hander at the winter meetings.
It’s entirely possible that the Cubs were among that group, as they search to bolster their rotation. If Sanchez winds up back in Motown, expect Dombrowski to hit the phones in an attempt to swing Porcello for bullpen help, another option at shortstop, a right-handed bat in the outfield or prospects.