The Detroit Tigers on Friday agreed to terms with Anibal Sanchez, the right-hander who helped pitch them into the World Series last fall.
Pushed in the final hours of negotiations by the Chicago Cubs, the Tigers agreed to commit $80 million over five seasons to the 28-year-old Sanchez, who rejoins a rotation of Justin Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer. USA Today first reported the terms.
Sanchez was considered the second-best starter on the market behind Zack Greinke, whom the Los Angeles Dodgers signed for $147 million over six seasons.
[Related: 2012 MLB free-agent tracker]
The presence and competitiveness of the Cubs was something of a surprise. From the gloaming of a roster overhaul and an organizational plan that is being measured in years, the Cubs have added Scott Feldman and Scott Baker to their rotation, along with Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. Their pursuit of Sanchez suggests Theo Epstein believes the Cubs, losers of 101 games in 2012, are closer to contention than not.
Sanchez was 9-13 with a 3.86 ERA in Miami and Detroit last season, but distinguished himself with three quality starts in the Tigers' postseason. His market was healthy, and for a time included the Dodgers before their signings of Greinke and the Korean Ryu Hyun-jin.
In part because of the re-acquisition of Sanchez, the Tigers once again will be favored to win the AL Central. They signed outfielder Torii Hunter. Victor Martinez returns after sitting out 2012 because of knee surgery.
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