Firmly on Detroit's radar in free agency this offseason, former Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez reportedly agreed in principle to a five-year contract with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
But while Nightengale cautions that the organization has yet to finalize any details and that Sanchez would still need to pass any physical before a signing is announced, a conflicting report from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman also revealed that the Tigers are still in mix to land Sanchez despite news of a possible signing elsewhere.
The 28-year-old Sanchez pitched just 12 regular season games with the Tigers last year after arriving in a July trade with the Miami Marlins, but was said to have thoroughly impressed both team owner Mike Illitch and general manager Dave Dombrowski with his consistency over three strong postseason starts. Even though it was widely assumed that Sanchez would command a significant price tag on the open market and therefore fall out of Detroit's range, the Tigers have been steadfast in their bid to bring him back to Motown on a long-term deal.
While exact terms of Sanchez's pending deal with Chicago are unknown, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal indicated that the two sides were originally in discussions about contract worth upwards of $75 million over five years, which would equate to $15 million per season. After shelling out a two-year, $26 million deal to outfielder Torii Hunter earlier in free agency, it would seem that Detroit would be unwilling to get into a bidding war for Sanchez, but only time will tell. Right now the Cubs appear to be more than just closing in on the talented right hander, and the clock is clearly ticking for Dombrowski and the organization to make a move.