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Sorry, Chicago: Anibal Sanchez returns to Tigers on five-year, $80 million deal

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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It looks like Anibal Sanchez is headed back to the Detroit Tigers after all.

Despite Thursday night reports that the 28-year-old right-hander had agreed to a big deal with the Chicago Cubs, Sanchez is returning to the Tigers on a five-year contract worth $80 million. The news of the C.J. Wilson-type deal was first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today on Friday morning.

Though Sanchez has had his moments during his career, the fact he'll be getting $16 million per season says a lot more about the current market than it does his talents, which have ranked just above average. Sanchez posted a 3.74 ERA  in 12 starts and 74.2 innings for the Tigers after being acquired in a midseason trade from Miami. He pitched a lot better in the playoffs with a 1.77 ERA over three starts, displaying the No. 2 starter potential that have kept people interested in him for so long.

The Tigers' first offer to Sanchez this offseason was said to be for four years and $48 million, which the pitcher's agent Gene Mato laughed off as an "insult." While most of us would love to be "insulted" in such fashion, Mato was right to scoff (though perhaps not that publicly). More than a few teams got in on the bidding and Sanchez walked away with a much larger offer from the contending team he probably preferred to stay with.

[Related: 2012 MLB free-agent tracker]

As for that reported Cubs deal, which was reportedly worth $77 million? Well, it'll be interesting to see if we learn the truth on what really happened. Was it a case of inaccurate reporting when it was said that Sanchez and the team were in agreement? Or did the Cubs really think they had a deal in hand, only to watch Sanchez's people shop the offer back to Detroit? (As our own Jeff Passan points out, a similar situation occurred with Rafael Furcal, the Dodgers and the Braves back in 2008.)

Whatever the case, the Cubs' 2012 has contained a group of near-misses from the aborted Ryan Dempster trade to Atlanta, the failed Dan Haren-Carlos Marmol deal and now this.

Considering all of that, most Cubs fans can relate with pitcher Matt Garza after seeing the following tweets:

Stay warm this winter ...
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