Despite initial reports that Chicago had narrowed in on signing free agent Anibal Sanchez, the Cubs will now be left to pick up the pieces after the veteran right-hander officially inked a five-year deal worth $80 million with Detroit on Friday.
And with Sanchez set to receive $16 million per year from the Tigers going forward, the deal itself helped to shed some much-needed light on just what the Cubs may need to pony up for right-handed starter Matt Garza next fall. The 29-year-old Garza is under contract with the Cubs through the 2013 campaign, and as Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com notes, desperately needs to answer questions about his long-term health with a strong season.
Diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right elbow in early August before being shut down, Garza made 18 starts for the Cubs last season with a 5-7 record and 3.91 ERA. He earned $9.5 million in salary in 2012, and at just 30 years old, will likely be one of the league's most coveted pitching commodities on the open market next season. Further injury problems could make the decision an easy one for general manager Theo Epstein and the organization, but Sanchez's recent contract is a solid blueprint for what it may take to keep a revitalized Garza in town.