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Must. Keep. Calm.

I’ve been banging the Anibal Sanchez drum for most of the offseason, and it sounds like I might be getting my wish. According to Bob Nightengale and Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are currently finalizing what would be a five-year deal for free agent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez. There will be many updates.

UPDATE 1 (4:54pm CT): Ok, so your time-line is as follows – the Cubs and Tigers were both pushing hard for Sanchez, and as of 10 minutes ago, Rosenthal said the Tigers were still a possibility. Then Nightengale said the Cubs had broken through, and come to terms with Sanchez. The deal “could be” worth $75 million over five years, which would just be fantastic.

UPDATE 2 (4:56pm CT): Jon Heyman says the Cubs are indeed working hard on Sanchez, but currently deny they have a deal. Given how these things sometimes play out, your excitement should be kept tentatively in check.

UPDATE 3 (5:00pm CT): For those who’ve missed my earlier pushes for Sanchez, consider that he’s a 28-year-old starter who has been improving the last few years, and has been excellent the last two years. Given his age, I would love this signing for the Cubs, regardless of where they are in the rebuild.

UPDATE 4 (5:01pm CT): Heyman reiterates that this isn’t a done deal, and Sanchez’s agent says he’s still talking to other teams, including the Tigers.

UPDATE 5 (5:02pm CT): Worth noting that there was no equivocation in Nightengale’s reporting – he said the Cubs had agreed to terms with Sanchez, and the only thing left to do is a physical.

UPDATE 6 (5:03pm CT): Heyman wants it to be very clear that, from his perspective, nothing is final. Sources tell him the Tigers are still very much in it for Sanchez. You knew it wouldn’t be simple.

UPDATE 7 (5:06pm CT): Well, Matt Garza sure thinks Sanchez is coming here, as he just welcomed him on Twitter. Of course, Garza also welcomed Dan Haren.

UPDATE 8 (5:09pm CT): Jon Morosi agrees with Jon Heyman: not a done deal, according to sources. He cautions that it might be a long night. Damn it. I was supposed to go get Chipotle …

UPDATE 9 (5:15pm CT): For posterity, it’s worth noting that Jim Bowden also said that Sanchez “has signed” with the Cubs … in a tweet that has since been deleted.

UPDATE 10 (5:17pm CT): Well, Nightengale felt strongly enough about his report to write it up for USA Today. His source is “an official with direct knowledge.”

UPDATE 11 (5:21pm CT): This is a new media first – Matt Garza reports that he’s heard from a credible source that the deal is happening, and from a not-so-credible source that it’s not. What an age we live in.

UPDATE 12 (5:23pm CT): The Chicago media is entirely silent so far, which means either they can’t track anything down yet (unlikely), or they’ve been told to keep it zipped, and are obliging. I still expect them to chime in soon.

UPDATE 13 (5:24pm CT): That was fast – Dave Kaplan says he’s got very good sources telling him it’s not a done deal. The Cubs are trying to finalize it, but the Tigers are still in play. Grumble.

UPDATE 14 (5:27pm CT): I’m hoping that what we have here is the Cubs making an acceptable offer, and then Sanchez’s agent taking it back to the Tigers one last time to try and see if they’d top it. And from Kap: “Cubs told another agent for a free agent pitcher they were down the road w/Sanchez + would call if they lost out. Agent hasn’t heard back.” That’s good, at least.

UPDATE 15 (5:31pm CT): Like Nightengale, Rosenthal feels strongly enough to do the full write-up thing, but his version is that the Cubs and Sanchez are in serious discussions. The Tigers remain involved.

UPDATE 16 (5:33pm CT): Phil Rogers offers a report, but there’s not much new. The Cubs obviously aren’t offering so much as a whiff on this one.

UPDATE 17 (In line at Chipotle): Nightengale is sticking by his story so far, just now tweeting it out again and suggesting Hamilton signing was catalyst because it took Angels out of market for Sanchez.

UPDATE 18 (Still): Bruce Levine weighs in with a Detroit source (not Chicago?) who says they’ve not yet been informed they are out.

UPDATE 19 (Still): And Nightengale finally backtracks. He says Cubs thought they had a deal, but as I guessed, Detroit is being given opportunity to match.

UPDATE 20 (Still): Nightengale adds that Detroit was at four years, but if they go to five, he’ll sign with them.

UPDATE 21 (6:13pm CT): The nightmare tweet, from Nightengale: “The #Cubs, among others, did not know that #Tigers would have last chance to match. And the #Tigers have just bumped their offer to Sanchez.”

UPDATE 22 (6:15pm CT): Given how this has played out, I can’t help but wonder if Sanchez’s agent just played the Cubs, the Tigers, and the media like fiddle. Maybe Sanchez desperately wanted to re-sign with the Tigers, and desperately wanted that fifth year. And his agent may have just pulled it off.

UPDATE 23 (6:20pm CT): I didn’t want to say it earlier for a (ridiculous) fear of jinxing it, but now that the cat is out of the bag … 5 years and $75 million in this market for Sanchez is a freaking steal. Sigh.

UPDATE 24 (6:22pm CT): Nightengale says it isn’t a matter of the Cubs getting played, it was just a matter of the Tigers reassessing in light of the Cubs’ offer. Keep in mind: if the Cubs got played, so did Nightengale.

UPDATE 25 (6:48pm CT): Nightengale has a quote from Sanchez’s agent (gee, imagine that: Nightengale is suddenly getting lots of quotes from Sanchez’s agent – can’t imagine who the leak was … ) that negotiations with the Cubs and Tigers are ongoing, and Anibal has not decided.

UPDATE 26 (6:58pm CT): Gordon Wittenmyer checks in, saying the Cubs and Tigers are both in plan, and it may just be a waiting game for all sides at this point. For my part, by the way, I have heard absolutely nothing on this one.

UPDATE 27 (7:12pm CT): Dan Plesac says his gut tells him Sanchez will re-sign with Detroit now that the Tigers have countered the Cubs’ offer (is Plesac an insider?). Bruce Levine says someone must have really throw Nightengale a curveball because “he doesn’t make these kind of mistakes.”

UPDATE 28 (7:14pm CT): Paul Sullivan on my agent suspicions: “Cubs not commenting on premature report of Sanchez signing. Sounds like a double cross by the agent. Too bad.”

UPDATE 29 (7:29pm CT): Kap has discussed this with Nightengale, who says if the money is even, Sanchez is choosing the Tigers. Kap implies that there’s a decision coming tonight. I can’t help but believe the Cubs will lose him if the numbers stay at 5/$75M.

UPDATE 30 (8:44pm CT): Nightengale is starting to waiver in his confidence that we’ll hear tonight. He says he was told that, but he obviously had wrong information earlier (implying that he could be wrong again this time). He added that it’s “getting late.”

UPDATE 31 (8:53pm CT): Kap tweets the following, which is only applicable here by inference: “Trying to text/work the phones while hosting 3 hr radio show. Hearing Cubs are in play on P Mike Adams (Rangers) Carlos Villanueva (Tor).” Is Villanueva the back-up pitcher about which Kap spoke earlier? Kind of feels that way, even though he and Sanchez are not in the same class. It would be hard to imagine the Cubs talking both Sanchez and Villanueva into signing on when the Cubs “already have” five starters (even though it would be awesome to get both). Thus, seems like Villanueva is indeed the back-up plan.

UPDATE 32 (9:19pm CT): I’m listening to Kap on WGN Sports Night now, and Kap’s talking to Tony Paul, a Detroit writer, who says he’s not surprised the Tigers are getting the final chance to match the Cubs because Sanchez loved his time in Detroit. He’s surprised that the Tigers are willing to talk about 5/$75 million, but he doesn’t know how high the Tigers are willing to go. He didn’t think the Tigers were willing to go any higher than four years and $60 million.

UPDATE 33 (9:25pm CT): Tony says he doesn’t expect anything tonight. It could come down to Tigers blinking and ponying up extra cash, or Sanchez blinking and going for the money with the Cubs. I’m getting the sense that he really doesn’t think the Tigers are going to outbid the Cubs on Sanchez … but that doesn’t mean the Cubs will get him.

UPDATE 34 (9:41pm CT): Kap adds on the radio that he hears Villanueva is not being viewed as a fallback for Sanchez. The Cubs want them both.

UPDATE 35 (9:45pm CT): Paul Sullivan offers his write-up, and he says the Cubs “aren’t optimistic” about landing Sanchez at this point, and he’s “expected” to go back to the Tigers.

UPDATE 36 (10:00pm CT): A humorous exchange – Matt Garza tweets that he’s anxiously awaiting word on the Sanchez deal, and then Carrie Muskat tweets at him that maybe Garza should give Sanchez a call with a sales pitch. Too funny, too true.

UPDATE 37 (10:45pm CT): And Nightengale corrects himself for the second time today, saying that we aren’t going to hear tonight. Talks with the Cubs and Tigers are expected to resume tomorrow. Grumble.

UPDATE 38 (7:30am CT): Nothing significant overnight, as expected. I’ll likely be making a new post when we get an update today. And I’ll try to do normal posting, too, as if I’m not just obsessing about Sanchez.

  • Jealous

    Even tho I dont care for Sanchez be nice to sign him seeing the FA market absolutely blows. Trade for DPRICE next year

    DPrice
    Garza
    Sanchez
    Shark
    (Whoever). Bo0o0om. Legit Legit Starting Rotation.

    • Jeff1969

      I was thinking asbout how many fans get their thinking on pitching all wrong. Teams almost never produce anything near a starting 5 straight out of their system. Imagining the Cubs will be ready to contend by say, 2015 and that the pitching will be even more than half homegrown is just fan thinking. Signing a guy like Sanchez, resigning Garza, keeping Shark, and then maybe, huge maybe, trading for a guy like Price, and then allowing the team to develop around these guys is the way it gets done. Pitching is often times oder than the rest of the team. It’s almost never that teams can develop anything like a whole starting 5. Look at the Royals, they tried & it bombed. Their positions players are starting to pan out, but they had & still have to go get pitching outside the org. to give them a chance.

  • OJ

    Provided he’s healthy, good luck signing Garza to an extension. Dude is gonna hit the free agent market where the best name available next to his is PHIL HUGHES. He will get crazy money from a desperate team. Garza is 29 and not getting any younger. The majority of players want to test Free Agency before they get too old to see what kind of cash they can get. Garza is gonna get paid.

    • Josh

      I guarantee the Cubs either sign him to an extension or trade him before the deadline. They aren’t going to wait until free agency to make their move

      • OJ

        I agree….and it won’t be an extension. He will most likely be traded. (if he stays healthy)

  • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

    Brett, what’s the most responses to one single thread??

    • MichiganGoat

      This is the most I believe

      • MichiganGoat

        And the third shift crowd hasn’t chimed in yet

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I think it started with a 6, so this will surpass it.

        • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

          All this for A. Sanchez, wierd

        • Spencer

          what about page views? probably not close.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Trade Deadline – day before and day of – still blow this one away.

  • OJ

    Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale

    There will be no decision tonight by Sanchez, as talks with #Cubs and #Tigers continue in morning

  • Mike

    Twitter sucks. All these folks, from Bowden to Garza to Marmol take rumors as fact. Just proof they are just as anxious and stupid as the rest of us….jumping the gun and saying “yay! we got a good player!” or “I enjoyed Chicago and look forward to my time with a new team”. What a bunch of juvenile crap.

    • MichiganGoat

      Twitter is awesome we are now seeing how negotiations happen in real time and Sanchez agent has played it beautifully, he should be getting new clients very soon.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        I consider tonight a win for us. He is thinking hard. Money can be a good thing.

  • PKJ

    SILVER LINING ALERT!!!

    This front office is willing to SPEND MONEY! So even if they don’t land Sanchez, cheers to them for trying.

    • Whiteflag

      Did you honestly think they were going to spend money at some point?

    • #1lahairfan

      Very true

  • TonyP

    Tomorrow will be an unproductive day at work. F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5

  • Bill

    Nightengale is clueless! Throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks at this point

  • Tennessee Cub

    Garza will be signed, if he proves he is healthy. I am not totally optimistic that the Cubs will get Sanchez, but if they do then at least tomorrow will be a good day. Can’t figure out why a player would go back to a team that offered you something when another one clearly WANTED YOU MORE from the start. Have some pride and don’t stoop down to the bidding game. Or, if you want to play somewhere take the cut and/or less years and play there.

    • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

      Fellow Tennessee Cub, you bring up an interesting point I don’t think has really been discussed. Garza v. Sanchez debate. Which pitcher is the better investment?? If we are able to sign Sanchez how does that impact trying to extend Garza??? Is this move a sign that we are signing one but plan on losing the other or a can we have both???

      Health wise and durability, I don’t think you can pick one over the other, both have 6 years of service time but Garza leads in innings pitched.

      • willis

        If we were to sign Sanchez (highly unlikely at this point) I think the next big move would be to extend Garza when he shows he’s healthy. Those two with Shark give this team one hell of a top three for years to come. And we build from there.

        With Sanchez most likely re-signing with Detroit, it’s anyone’s guess what happens with Garza.

  • Dustin

    Brett, hopefully someday in the near future you can get a chat room going. That would be awesome!

    • Whiteflag

      Message boards are similar.

  • XavierGunz

    What is F5?

    • Whiteflag

      Push it.

    • TonyP

      refresh

  • abe

    I think its a good thing they will talk tomorrow. At least that mean his agent wasn’t strait up playing the Cubs and maybe we really have a shot at getting him.

    • jayrig5

      Unless his agent knows it would look awful to just take the Tigers money tonight, and is pushing it off to keep up appearances that the Cubs had a chance this whole time, so as to not damage his relationship with the team any more than he already has.

      But, it is certainly better than him signing with Detroit tonight, I guess.

      • willis

        It’s just delaying the pain. Is that good or bad? I’d love to wake up to a shock announcement tomorrow, I just don’t see it.

        • jayrig5

          Me neither, unless the Cubs overpay (5/85? 6th year?)

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    if we miss out on sanchez we need to jump on in and sign jackson 3yr 33mm, and villenueva 2yr 12m…… then pay most of marmols 9mm and trade him to the angels for borgious…..a legit c.f. leadoff man, this way if we do deal garza(which i dont want us to)we’ll have someone to eat innings along with smardzjia.

    • Jealous

      Like your comments and agree ferris, padres like him more

  • John

    Does this not remind you of that scene from Moneyball where Beane (played by Brad Pitt) gets the call from Boras about Damon?

  • Rizzo44

    Garza tweeted 34 minutes ago that he can’t call him now because he’s Christmas shopping. Well hell, he better get his ass up early tommorow morning and get Sanchez on the phone and recruit so he can get Sanchez here and get himself an extension!!

  • Jealous

    2014

    Price
    Garza
    Sanchez
    Lincecum
    Shark

    Crisp
    Castro
    Cano
    Rizzo
    Pence
    Almora
    Baez
    Jackson
    Castillo

    Yeah!!!!

    • John (ibcnu2222)

      Soler will be ready before Almora. Lincecum will be way overpaid. #nextbarryzito. Is Crisp or Jackson a 4th outfielder?

    • Rizzo44

      If you want Price. Baez will not be on this team anymore..

  • The Dude

    Whew! Just read up on all of this and it feels like I was part of the negotiation (or at least standing outside the conference room getting periodic updates from the guy delivering food runs). Twitter has really changed the way we experience these stories – I dig it. Sure, it’s a tough pill to swallow if the final outcome doesn’t break your way but I prefer this over a single report that a signing or trade went down.

    Had the opportunity to run through some of the comments and you guys are awesome. Great community. Thanks, Brett.

    • MichiganGoat

      Exhaustive isn’t it and this is just a small percentage of what the FO has to deal with concerning all moves.

    • The Dude

      Yeah, I don’t know how they handle all the information out there. I once tried to reset the rosters and have a draft on MLB 2k and quit after four rounds.

      • MichiganGoat

        And yet people still think Theo/Jed are bad at their job – ignorance makes hatred so much easier.

      • The Dude

        I can understand the frustration – to a degree. To me, the FO current strategy is all about the deal. If the deal is right on a FA or trade target, they’ll close it. If not, move on. Put enough of those deals together and they’ll eventually have a very competitive team with financial room to get the guy they want; even if that means overpaying.

  • DarthHater

    Favorite tweet of the night: “If Anibal agreed to a deal, and then backed out, wouldn’t that make him a…Dirty Sanchez?”

    • Whiteflag

      thought of that earlier….was going to call him a dirty little sanchez but thought it was to provocative. very funny though

    • MichiganGoat

      Hehehe that’s funny

    • calicubsfan007

      @DH: One of my top 5 twitter posts right there. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there!

  • cubsnivy56

    I hope the chipotle was good. I want to thank you for your efforts to keep us Cubs fans informed. I understand it is your job and it is what is what pays the bills for you. But the way you do it, he depth of the information you gather, while trying to report as an unbiased outsider, with realistic implications of what may happen (for the benefit of Cubs fans) is why I check in to this site 5 or 6times per day.

    Without naming nmes, the in depth commentary from the stellar Cubs fans only adds to what Brett offers. Thank you again for making me a better informed Cubs fan. (my friends have noticed)

    For the haters, and negative Nancys, give it a break. BELIEVE!!!

    • MichiganGoat

      Well put this is an amazing coummunity the fact that trolls and haters frequent here so often only shows how great this place has become- the price of fame. Oh and only 5-6 per day there are times I check 5-6 times a minute ;)

      • Boogens

        You are so right, Goat! It would be amazing to see how many of us are checking the site dozens of times daily while we’re at work each. Especially with news like this. The significant drop in productivity (or focus, at the very least) is a tribute to the awesome job that Brett does.

  • calicubsfan007

    Here’s to contributing to breaking the record of comments. (=

    • MichiganGoat

      It’s good to have goals ;)

      • calicubsfan007

        @MG: Yes, yes it is! I am psyched that I am less sick at this moment. (=

  • MichiganGoat

    Night everybody here’s to hoping for good news tomorrow

  • Detroit Native

    [I like Detroit.]

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Have fun with that Fielder contract.

    • Chef Brian

      Oh Detroit, I didn’t know you were still there? I’m sorry, you’ve been dismissed.

    • cjdubbya

      Wow. If Cleveland’s claim to fame is that they’re not you…

      Just sayin’.

    • MichiganGoat

      That might be the best edit of a troll comment ever! Nicely done and as a real Michigan native it makes me smile.

  • Mike

    Here’s to hoping Anibal Greed A** Sanchez and all the rest of these lame stat, overpaid babies get all of their salaries fleeced by the equally greedy owners.

  • mudge

    Just thought I’d weigh in here.

  • Rizzo44

    My 2015 wish list…

    Josh Johnson
    Matt Garza
    Anibal Sanchez
    Shark
    Villanueva

    Bourn
    Castro
    Cano
    Rizzo
    Soler
    Baez
    Jackson
    Castillo

    Josh Johnson FA next year, I would really love for Jed and Theo to start spending some money and land him next year. I don’t really like the idea loading out the farm for David Price, but would really love JJ in a Cubs uniform.

    #CUBSFOR2015

    • Marcel91

      keep on wishin’. Because that’s not going to happen and it shouldn’t. I don’t understand your passion for signing 30yr+ players based on past performance and leaving their prime years behind them instead of going into them. Same stuff that got us into this mess. Cano wants Arod money and is already past 30, Bourn is Bourn(a bad investment) Johnson cant stay healthy to save his life.

      Basically you want an aging, overpaid, team on the field to make yourself content. We tried that approach of throwing money around to anybody, it didnt work. Deal with it.

  • http://bleachernation.com frank hutch

    why does everyone insist we have to trade garza? hes a really good pitcher and isnt old

    • calicubsfan007

      Hey hutch, where is starsky? (= Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • Nate

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Ok, fine I’ll trust 37 and just go to sleep…

    I have one prayer before I go to sleep though. God: Please let Cubs fans wake up to good news for the first time in a very long time. That is all, amen. :)

  • GDB

    Is there a web-site anywhere which is keeping tabs on reporters “breaking” stories on twitter? e.g. +1 for being the first to correctly tweet that a deal is completed and -1 for each tweet confirming something that turns out to be wrong.

    I think it would be very worthwhile to keep tabs on who only breaks legitimate stories, and who seems to have an itchy twitter-finger. Particularly where some (like Jim Bowden) tweet a deal to be done, then go back and delete the tweet and pretend like nothing happened… Nightingale at least still has an honest timeline.

    • DarthHater

      Yea, then we could develop advanced journalometric statistics. For instance, the ratio of inaccurate tweets to retractions or corrections could be called DOUCHE (for Doesn’t Own Up Covers His Extremities). :-D

  • daveyrosello

    Sanchez is a bad investment. 5/75 for a #2. I’m guessing Marcum will go somewhere like 3/30, he’s a #3.

    Sanchez (2) + Garza (2) + Ninja (3) + Baker (3.5, if healthy) + Feldman (5) = 15.5. Replace Sanchez with Marcum for a fraction of the cost, the rotation score rises just 1 point to 16.5. The increment to sign Sanchez isn’t worth the cost.

    By way of comparison, the pre-deadline score for the Cubs last year was 17: Garza (2) + Dempster (2) + Ninja (3) + Maholm (4) + Volstad (6). Using a 6 score for pitchers that are in the rotation but shouldn’t be, the Cubs post-deadline score was a catastrophic 27. No wonder they sucked eggs.

    A contending club usually manages a score of 15, reflecting a balanced rotation (1+2+3+4+5=15). The Nats had baseball’s best rotation score last year with a 12. 8 of the 10 playoff teams managed a score of 15 or better.

    Bottomline: if the target is 15, Sanchez alone doesn’t get you there, yet the expense suggests he should. I’d go with Marcum, and put the $$ savings into another quality late-inning reliever like Mike Adams or Jose Valverde.

    • MichiganGoat

      Curious, where did you get these numbers? I like the idea but who is ranking these pitchers?

    • Featherstone

      I dont really know your methodology on this one, but 15 mil per year for a solid number 2 is no longer a bad deal. It’s pretty much the market price. Ace’s are in 20+ mil range these days (Sabathia, Verlander, Felix, Cain, Hamels, etc) If your paying your ace 20+ mil a year I dont know how you could balk at 15 per for your number 2.

      • MichiganGoat

        Especially in a couple years the way the Angels and Dodgers are throwing around contracts and the way the rest of baseball will eventually follow suit. In three years 15M will look like a steal.

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