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 Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.