We’re only a few days into free agency, but we have already heard multiple reports of outrageous contract demands. Just to name some recent examples, Josh Hamilton reportedly wants $175 million while Michael Bourn is looking for $100 million and Jeremy Guthrie is seeking $34 million. Well, we can add a new name to the list.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, free agent right-hander Anibal Sanchez is seeking a contract in the range of $90 million over six years. This would give him an AAV (average annual value) of $15 million, very close to C.J. Wilson’s $15.5 million AAV as part of his five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Angels last offseason.
Sanchez probably won’t get six years guaranteed or $90 million, but he should do very well as one of the top pitchers available in free agency. While injuries were a factor early in his career, the 28-year-old right-hander has quietly logged at least 195 innings over the past three seasons while posting a 3.70 ERA. He also improved his stock after finishing strong following his trade to the Tigers this July, proving that he can be successful in the American League.
Morosi is hearing that the Tigers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rangers and Dodgers are among the teams who have expressed interest in Sanchez so far. The competition should be good news for his asking price and it only takes one team to throw things out of whack, but a deal similar to Wilson’s sounds more reasonable.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.