UPDATE: Nightengale reports that there will be no decision from Sanchez tonight, as talks with the Cubs and Tigers are expected to continue in the morning.
7:50 PM: Per Nightengale, Sanchez’s agent says, “He has not decided. Negotiations are ongoing..”
7:14 PM: Nightengale reports that the Tigers have bumped their offer to Sanchez. The specifics of the new offer aren’t yet clear, but it’s beginning to look like the Cubs got used for leverage here. This baseball is a tough business.
6:59 PM: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs thought they had a deal with Sanchez, but the Tigers are being given the last chance to match. They previously offered him a four-year deal.
6:12 PM: Not so fast. Sanchez’s agent Gene Mato told CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that he’s still talking to other teams. Meanwhile, Heyman hears that the Tigers remain “very much” in the mix to sign him.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports also hears that it isn’t a done deal, so stay tuned.
5:50 PM: Another unexpected signing. After a pretty general assumption that the Tigers were the favorites to bring back Anibal Sanchez, Bob Nightengale just reported that the Chicago Cubs have signed him. No official word on the money, but Ken Rosenthal had just previously tweeted that the Cubs were “close” and were offering five years and $75 million.
Sanchez is a 48-51 career pitcher with a 3.75 ERA. Last year he he had a 3.74 ERA for the Tigers and a 3.94 ERA for the Marlins and was 9-13 overall. He has thrown between 195 and 197 innings in each of the past three years.
He’ll immediately be the Cubs number one or, depending on how you feel about Matt Garza’s health, number two starter. And, considering where this market has gone so far this winter, that’s not a terrible price for the guy. I think most people figured he’d go north of $80 million.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.