The Chicago Cubs are making a hard push for free agent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez. Multiple reports on Thursday afternoon have confirmed that the Chicago Cubs have a 5 year, $75 million offer on the table for Sanchez. Despite reports that suggest there is done deal between the Cubs and Sanchez, that is not the case. Sanchez’s agent is allowing the opportunity for the Detroit Tigers to match the Cubs’ offer. The Tigers acquired Sanchez in a trade with the Miami Marlins this past season.
The addition of Sanchez would be unlike any other addition that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have made during their time in control of the Cubs’ baseball department. Sanchez is one of the premium pitchers available this winter and not much thought was given to the Cubs as a possible suitor for the free agent pitcher. At 28 years old, Sanchez is certainly trending toward being one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball. This past season with the Marlins and Tigers, Sanchez made 31 starts while compiling a record of 9-13 to go along with a WHIP of 1.27 and an ERA of 3.86. Sanchez was 8 and 9 in 2011, which was his last full season in the National League, to go along with an ERA of 3.67 for the Marlins.
If the Cubs do sign Sanchez, the move would not fall in line with the rebuilding efforts that the team has made these past two seasons. Sanchez is a top of the line starting pitcher, and is entering the prime seasons in where he is likely to progress to the top tier of starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. But while adding Sanchez does not fit with the moves that the Cubs have made recently, there are several reasons why a deal for Sanchez would make sense. The first reason is because Sanchez is only 28 years old. Meaning that Sanchez is at the age in which a team would be paying for his future rather than his past. Epstein and Hoyer have already been on record as saying they prefer to pay for the future, which means, signing players like Sanchez that are entering their prime seasons. The second reason why signing Sanchez makes sense for he Cubs is because of what it mean for the future of the starting rotation. There is no question that the Cubs will be looking to trade Matt Garza once the starting pitcher proves to be healthy. With Sanchez in the rotation, the Cubs would be able to trade Garza without facing any major consequences to the team’s starting rotation while receiving a haul of talented prospects. The signing of Sanchez coupled with the inevitable extension for Jeff Samardzija, and the Cubs will have secured the top of the startinirg rotation for when the team is ready to contend.
Now before we get to excited about the potential addition of Sanchez, lets remember that the Cubs do not have a done deal with Sanchez. The Cubs have a reported 5 year, $75 million offer on the table for Sanchez and the Tigers have been given the opportunity to match the offer. The decision for Sanchez appears to be down between the Tigers and Cubs. The Cubs clearly want Sanchez, though considering the opportunity that was given to the Tigers, it seems clear that the free agent pitcher would prefer to return to Detroit. Nonetheless, Sanchez is expected to make his decision tonight.