Another of this offseason’s marquee free agents has found a home.
Right-handed starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Detroit Tigers, further depleting the ranks of available starters on the market.
Sanchez’s signing was first reported in a tweet by USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
Agent Gene Mato Sanchez agrees to 5 year,$80 million deal w #Tigers— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2012
The story was confirmed in a later tweet by CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman.
Anibal gets $80M for 5 yrs w/ tigers as @bnightengale reported— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 14, 2012
Entering this offseason, it was difficult to gauge Sanchez’s market. He has never been an ace but developed into a consistent pitcher who has gotten better with age. His ERA has been between 3.55 and 3.87 in each of the past four seasons, making his production predictable.
Sanchez, who will be 29 by the start of next season, has a career record of 48-51 with a 3.75 ERA. One of his strongest talents is his ability to strike out batters, as he has whiffed an average of 7.6 per nine innings during his career.
CBSSports.com’s Chris Cwik pointed out that Sanchez had a number of injuries earlier in his career, including missing all of 2003 with elbow surgery. However, he has been completely healthy for the past several seasons, giving him the track record he needed to make his new team comfortable.
Sanchez pitched well for the Detroit Tigers down the stretch this past fall as they played their way into the World Series. His 2.43 ERA in six September and October starts were a major reason the Tigers were able to take the Central Division by three games over the Chicago White Sox and why he is being brought back to Motown.
Despite his consistency, Sanchez has never won more than 13 games or had more than 196.1 innings in a single season.
The fact that he was still able to score such a fat contract will bring holiday cheer to other pitchers seeking new deals of their own.
Click through to see which three pitchers are licking their chops after the news of Sanchez’s big contract.