It appears Anibal Sanchez and his agent used the Chicago Cubs as leverage in negotiations with the Detroit Tigers to get the deal they really wanted. Anibal Sanchez agreed to terms with the Detroit Tigers on a five-year, $80 million deal on Friday, just one day after reports had surfaced that the Cubs were about to sign the 28-year-old pitcher to a five-year, $75 million deal.
Bob Nightengale was the first to report both "signings," but the deal with the Tigers has been confirmed by multiple outlets.
Anibal gets $80M for 5 yrs w/ tigers as @bnightengale reported— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 14, 2012
Source confirms: #Tigers in agreement with Anibal Sanchez - five years, $80 million. First reported by @bnightengale.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 14, 2012
The #Cubs ownership and Theo Epstein were in Miami yesterday and presented$77 million offer, but #Tigers jumped up and stole him back— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2012
The Boston Red Sox also apparently got in on the bidding, but they weren't willing to go as high as $80 million. The highest reported offer from the Cubs was around $77 million.
In the end Sanchez got exactly what he wanted: the largest deal to play for the best team that pursued him. It was a successful negotiation for Sanchez, but unfortunately the Cubs (and Bob Nightengale) were used as pawns in the process.
Sanchez posted a 9-13 record in 2012, along with a combined ERA of 3.86 for the Tigers and Marlins. His ERA over his MLB career is 3.75, and he has produced at least 3.8 Wins Above Replacement in each of the past three seasons.
It appears the Cubs are back to square one in their search for young pitching to jump start the rebuilding process set in motion by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.