The Cubs were on the verge of signing Anibal Sanchez. In fact, it was already being reported as such which must have come as a bit of a shock to the Tigers as they were in the midst of discussion their own contract with the right-hander. We went to bed not knowing, and we wake up to read of a 5-yr/$80M deal with Detroit. Poor Nick went to presumably great lengths to rank the AL Central starting rotations and it’s already in need of an update.
There were some folks that were up in arms with Gavin Floyd’s $9M deal that keeps him in town another season. Making little to no commitment on a league average pitcher that’s going to be able to eat some innings and get through the year, $9M is doable. Anibal Sanchez isn’t exactly league average, he’s just a small step above it. He’s not old, so he’s got that going for him but the Tigers have just committed to 5 years at an average annual value of $16M. That’s a bold statement about their desire to return to the World Series in 2013. Sanchez saw his strikeout rate jump roughly 6% in 2011 to 24.3%, what his supporters surely hoped was an indication of a pitcher becoming more consistent. In 2012 it regressed back down to 20.4%, more reflective of the 18% he sat in ’09 and ’10. He’s not likely looking at turning into a pitcher much better than he already is.
Anibal Sanchez signing with the Tigers hurts the White Sox case in 2012 more than it helps, no doubt. It makes an already deep rotation deeper. In the long run this may hurt them money-wise, depending on how long Illitch & Co. want to continue going “all-in”. Giving that sort of length on a contract to a back-end very close to league average guy is risky. If that blows up in Detroit’s face, we probably have the Cubs to thank for driving up the price.