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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.

  • Justin

    So if the Cubs sign him, do they give up anything such as draf tpick or are they completely protected and Detroit gets supplemental pick?

    • cjdubbya

      Traded mid-year, no draft pick lost if the signing goes through

    • Noah

      Because Sanchez was traded midseason, under the we CBA the Tigers cannot receive any draft compensation for him if he signs elsewhere. In other words, the Cubs would not have to give up a pick for Sanchez, nor would the Tigers receive one.

    • Eric

      I don’t know the situation but someone at PSD posted that the Cubs wouldn’t lose a pick. So maybe Detroit didn’t give him a qualifying offer because they planned to resign him.

    • Justin

      Ahhh I forgot about that. Thanks guys!

  • DarthHater

    I’m not going anywhere near Twitter while this is going on. It will either happen or it won’t and then I’ll find out. Reading what @dogbreath99 and @pencildickorama think about it won’t help matters.

    • cjdubbya

      If those are the only two you follow on Twitter, you have a pretty empty feed.

      • DarthHater

        heh

  • Timmy

    Since he’s 28 this is a goodish deal considering the market. He still has a lifetime 1.35 WHIP though and has only ever had one winning season, and just barely.

    Considering our other non-options, I’ll take it.

    • DarthHater

      Yea, I wasn’t that convinced about him, but a lot of knowledgeable folks here seem to like him a lot, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

    • Noah

      WHIP and win-loss records are poor indicators of performance going forward. He has played on bad teams that have generally fielded bad defenses. You’d expect both of those numbers to look unfavorable compared to his peripherals.

  • SonnyESQ

    Update 17???

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)
  • miggy80

    Dam Ace! You’ve been busy this off season. Keep up the good work!

  • Abe Froman

    I’m an eternal optimist so I’m hopeful this gets done. I’m with Brett, this was the big free agent this winter I think fits our plan at the moment. 1) The report that the Cubs have a backup starter plan 2) the fact they got this far for a starting pitcher – both add up to the front office looking to add a legit starter. If this falls through looks like we are getting Marcum or Jackson?

  • brian

    dont get it. what is so special about sanchez? i look at him, i see a guy who went 9-13 with a era in the high 3s last year. i see a guy with a losing record for his career. someone whos never pitched 200+ innings. someone whos career whip is nothing special. why is this guy our next ace, and why is he worth 15 million a year for 5 years? someone please explain, cause it doesnt make sense to me

    • brian

      i mean yeah i realize hes not a bad pitcher but he just doesnt seem like anything more than a decent pitcher, a #3 starter, to me.

    • DarthHater

      If you search Sanchez in the search this site field, you can read Brett’s previous comments about him.

  • morgan

    cubs would be stupid to trade garza now, Garza Sanchez and Samj good as it gets really for top 3 in a rotation, maybe the cubs see a chance with the extra playoff spot and everyone but the reds in the division not doing anything

    • willis

      If this Sanchez thing happens, you’re absolutely right. Great top 3. Could be best in division.

    • Chris

      The problem is they’re not going to be able to resign Garza for $15mil a year like this deal with Sanchez. I think they go into the season with all 3 at the top of the rotation, but Garza gets moved if his contract demands are not in line with what the Cubs want to pay him.

  • willis

    I just got way too excited these last 30 minutes, now just waiting for the other shoe to drop and learn that he’s sticking with Detroit. It would only make sense.

  • David

    Nightengale says Tigers being given one last chance to match.

    • willis

      Gah…here it comes…

      And if they do, beat it.

  • Dustin

    The Cubs will sign him, we have more money then the Tigers to spend and I’m pretty sure if Theo and Jed really want this guy,they will have him!

    • Stinky Pete

      Do we have more money? The Tigers are owned by an octogenarian gozillionaire who seems to understand “You can’t take it with you” and really wants to win a WS before he dies. He can reach pretty deep in his pockets.

  • Tommy

    I hope this is happening for the Cubbies, and if so, next step is to resign Garza. First step of a rebuild should be that starting rotation, and we all know we don’t have much starting pitching coming out of the minors anytime soon!

    Let’s get this done and resign Garza next, people! That’s a solid rotation with those two guys along with Smardzija!

    Don’t let me down, Brett – I hold you completely accountable on this!

  • Jeff1969

    As a fan I can’t complain about the Cubs signing Sanchez, but it makes me wonder about the plan. I thinking maybe they aren’t as optimistic about getting a haul for Garza & have decided to alter the complete teardown? Sanchez & Garza would be a nice 1-2, then again, maybe a decently priced Sanchez is mostly future trade bait. Interesting.

  • morgan

    cubs cant go over 5/75 and i think with the tigers getting a chance to match, they will, why would you let another team have chance to match

    • King Jeff

      Umm, because that’s how free agency works?

    • Scotti

      Why can’t the Cubs go over 5/75? Who said they could go 5/75 in the first place? They did. Who sets their limits? They do.

      • aCubsFan

        Because of the mental and physical stress on a pitcher it wears on them and it is not good practice to go past 5 years on a pitcher’s contract. I believe the Dodgers are going to regret 6 years for Greinke just like the Giants regret the Zito huge contract.

        • Scotti

          The Cubs don’t have to add years to go over 5/75…

      • Justin

        Espcially if the contract is putting them into their mid-late 30’s. The Dodgers extending Kershaw for more then 5 years would make sense like Mariners did with Hernandez.

        • Scotti

          Five years and $75 million takes him to 33 years-old. So does five years and $80 million.

  • DarthHater

    If Wrigley had a jumbotron, they could show Hannibal Lecter clips whenever Anibal takes the mound.

  • John

    Nightengale has to stop leaking things…didnt he leak the Dempster and Haren as well?

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

    “chance to match” feels an awful lot like “We got used as a tool in extracting more money from the team he really wants to play for.”

    This would be a fantastic deal if they get it done.

    • willis

      Yeah he’s re-signing with the Tigers…this was too good to be true. Another letdown.

  • Dustin

    So does this mean if the Tigers match,he will resign with Tigers or will he come back to the Cubs and say beat this offer the Tigers just gave me or I’ll sign with them?

    • DarthHater

      It likely means he will sign with Detroit.

      • Dustin

        That blows! Well I was excited for about 10mins today lol

    • David

      Now he’s saying Tigs get one last chance to beat the Cubs offer. Either way, it’s kind of a horseshit way of doing things. All it does is allow Sanchez’ agent to pimp the Cubs offer, as Kyle said.

  • JR

    Nightendouche also reported last summer that Shark is the only Cub of the table in trade talks. Seems like a trouble maker/full of shit dude.

  • Bob

    I’m sure someone has said this, but Detroit newspaper has a headline that the Tigers are letting Sanchez go! Crap I hate this!

  • willis

    If Tigers go to 5 years, he’ll stay with them. So, good bye to all these good feelings we just had.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      They will definitely not risk losing him, so they’ll go 5 years. damn. So damn close. we arent getting him

  • Corey

    Some cubs fans are idiots. There’s people on twitter who think HAREN and DELGADO trades went through and Sanchez would join the previous mentioned. So dumb.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

    I see an awful lot of people who were strongly against any five-year deals for expensive free agents suddenly cheering when there is a chance we might get one.

    • King Jeff

      I’m not sure if we are talking about the same people, but there is a difference between giving a 28 year old pitcher a 5 year deal and giving a 31 year old outfielder a 5 year deal.

      • Whiteflag

        ^ this

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

        Oh, absolutely. Sanchez was always a favorite of the so-called “middle ground” proponents.

    • David

      Exactly. It proves that you were right all along, and if the deal goes through it shows that Theo and Jed are finally listening to you!!

    • cRAaZYHORSE

      funny is it not. just imagine tickets sales if the Cubs would have signed Hamilton and Sanchez (Not a Hamilton advocate just plugging that name for an instance)

    • DarthHater

      I see an awful lot of people who seem to be less interested in the Cubs than they are in sniping at the alleged inconsistency of other people’s opinions.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

        Well, that’s just silly. I can be interested in both, and much more interested in the Cubs, and still enjoy a snipe now and then.

        • DarthHater

          Well, there are at least as many cheap-FO-bashers eating crow right now as vice versa. Not sure any of this proves anything except that everybody’s an asshole.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

            “Not sure any of this proves anything except that everybody’s an asshole.”

            I feel like that’s as good of a sign-off for all of human existence as anything.

            • DarthHater

              Yea, kinda reads like the line under a Far Side cartoon with mushroom clouds in the background. ;-)

  • ryno23

    everyone take a breath ,we have the best in baseball running this program

    • kmr1453

      If these leaks continue to happen, wonder if we really do have the best.

  • Matty

    We’ll see what happens, but if the Cubs get played in this deal, the FO is really starting to look like clowns (in conjunction with the Dempster fiasco).

    • TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

      I am a fan of the FO but agree with this statement. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… Three times… Well s@&!$ I am an idiot.

  • Dustin S

    Not counting our chickens before they hatch, as we all know plenty of done deals lately that ended up not happening…but this would definitely change the atmosphere of this offseason in 1 swoop. Sanchez wouldn’t get us in the playoffs next year or be a savior, but having 3 decent starters between Garza, Samardzija, and Sanchez would make 2013 a whole lot more bearable. Plus Baker could be a big help if he’s healthy. Travis Wood wasn’t awful the 2nd half of last season either. We might not score much, but good pitching always makes games better to watch with a cold beverage.

    • Dustin S

      PS I also hope this isn’t another agent game of…the Cubs have big pockets so I’ll leak that they’re about to sign him to try to squeeze another year out of Detroit. About had my fill of us being used as agent leverage. Maybe that would be an upside to a couple years of Theo being frugal, if he can get a rep of not spending big on FAs.

  • TonyP

    I can’t believe this is happening again.

  • David

    Now Danny Knobler is saying that if the Tigers tops Cubs offer, Sanchez will sign with Detroit, and apparently not give Cubs a chance to counter. Um, that would suck.

  • kmr1453

    Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale

    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.

    • DarthHater

      Sanchez’s agent will never have dealings with the Cubs FO again…

    • King Jeff

      ^ Still following Bob Nightengale and posting his twitter feed like it’s a reliable source.

      • kmr1453

        Sometimes the truth hurts.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

      Theo’s having flashbacks to Contreras.

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