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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.

  • Craig

    My theory is the Cubs leaked it knowing the Tigers would match. The FO just wants it to appear they are trying to do something big to satisfy the fan base,

    • DarthHater

      Hey, Brett! Oliver Stone is a BleacherNation poster!

    • Carew

      You’re joking right?

    • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

      Maybe the Cubs are just driving up the bids, ala a fantasy draft, so they can sign Donovan McNabb on the cheap! Brilliant.

      • Picklenose

        Please don’t sign Tebow, Please don’t sign Tebow!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Some folks are predisposed to giving the front office the benefit of the doubt. Some folks are predisposed to ripping the front office when they have a chance.

    Imagine my shock, when confronted with almost no facts, that there are two sides to the debate on who screwed this up or who leaked it.

    • DarthHater

      Yea, I find it best to just be predisposed to hate everybody. ;-)

      • TWC

        Works for me.

    • Tommy

      As I stated earlier, if this falls through, the fault lies clearly in your lap, Brett.

      • DarthHater

        There. Somebody finally had the balls to say it.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’m the leak.

        • DarthHater

          This blog is starting to resemble Lord of the Flies:
          Kill the leaker! Cut his throat!! Spill his blood!!!
          Kill the leaker! Cut his throat!! Spill his blood!!!

          • Whiteflag

            haha… I forgot about that book.

            • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

              Tonight we hunt Rodgers.

  • WilliamGlass

    If I was the Cubs, I would screw them over and say “they’re tripping, we only offered him a two year deal worth 25 million.” That way it lowers his offer from Detroit.

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

    Delgado, Haren, and now Sanchez. My frustration is officially boiling over.

    • Carew

      The players and the agent just do not the Cubs huh?

      • Carew

        sposed to say “do not like”

        • Zach

          There is this thing called an “edit” button!

          • MichiganGoat

            The edit button has been around got awhile.

            • MichiganGoat

              I mean HAS NOT – see no edit button

            • TWC

              The edit button has been around got awhile.

              This is why I love MichiganGoat.

              • MichiganGoat

                ;) it’s tough to type wit hooves so good

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    I guess it hard to attract good free agents with certain front offices and owners The Good news is that the Cubs tried and i give them credit for that . the bad news. This is what Front office do they make things happen. Sometimes they win sometimes they don”t but for what ever reason it seems like its always someone fault but the Front Office.of the Cubs and (drum roll) THe President Baseball Operations, the 25 man roster and it record is a reflection of that group.

    I hope the Cubs get Sanchez and if the Tiger prevail well its only becasue they have a better team , front office and players . plus the money.

    The Tiger did not leak the story. and i am sure the Cubs knew before hand that the agent would give the tiger to match or exceed the offer. SO who else benifits by this leak.

    Well Sanchez and the Cubs to a degree- it almost gave me faith – and to a degree it still does but reality is what it is . Comes April1 (no Jokes )_ let see what type of fools/ players the Cub put on the field.

    • Blublud

      You know, this is true. Its never the FO fault and always the FO credit to recieve. Right before Theo came from Boston, there was reports of numerous leaks coming from the team. Mighty funny since he left, the Boston front, with exception Bobby V, has been quiet, and the Cubs have more leaks then the Titantic. Just saying.

      • TWC

        … the Cubs have more leaks then the Titantic. Just saying.

        Hey, yeah! That’d be totally right on if it wasn’t completely wrong.

        • miggy80

          Oh T-Dub, that’s good stuff “more leaks then the Titantic. Just saying.” Maybe Blublud is the one BIG leak! Blublud = Iceburg

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        You say the Red Sox have had no leaks in the last year, but probably fair to suggest that you haven’t been following the Red Sox as closely as the Cubs this year, right?

        • Blublud

          Other then the Bobby V clown hiring and the following show, what on the level of Demp/Haren/now Sanchez has happened.

          Look, I said numerous times I support Theo as the GM, and if he gets Sanchez, there in no one here who would be happier then me. I almost pissed my pants and scared the baby and wife when I yelled Holy Shit upon reading the headline. But its funny every time we are about to make a big move this happens to us. And like someone said, its getting pretty embarrassing.

      • cRAaZYHORSE

        I dont care about the leaks as fans we live on gossip in the off season. The Cubs can still sign him and if they dont . I can really say i enjoyed the news today cause on one hand The Cubs Have Committed to Sanchez now the ball is up to the Tigers. and if the Tigers dont follow through then The Cubs have no excuse but to sign him . and that sit well with this Cub fan.

  • DarthHater

    You know, people, if you want the Cubs to sign this guy, this latest round of delay is a good sign. Personally, I’m not sold on him, but I can also see the arguments in his favor. So I’m not going to be too disappointed either way.

  • Mike

    On the one hand, if Sanchez leaves the Cubs’ original offer on the table and goes to the Tigers for more money, can’t blame him for leaving for more money. On the other hand, if he goes to the Tigers for the same money, I hope his arm blows out by mid-season.

  • Jonathan

    The moral of the story is free agents would rather sign with a good team versus a bad one.

    • Mike

      The moral of the story is free agents want the big money first, and preferably with a winning team….but if it’s not a winning team and the money offered is ridiculously high, they will follow the money.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It seems more likely that this is Sanchez’s request. This is sort of a weak “home town discount”: I like my old team, and if the money is equal, then I’ll stay with them. It’s not about the Cubs and The Other Team: it’s about the Tigers and The Other Team.

      And one can understand it: the Tigers had a great run while Sanchez was on the team, and that had to leave a very favorable impression of everything involved with the Tigers.

      • DarthHater

        Can’t imagine why a guy would rather return to a World Series team than move to a 100-loss team. Just makes no sense at all…

        • DocPeterWimsey

          heh, true. But this would be a “gentleman’s agreement” (I doubt that this provision could be put into a contract) made with 29 teams in mind, not just the Cubs. Again, that’s why we have to drop the “it’s all about the Cubs” idea here: it’s all about Sanchez and the Tigers. What Sanchez gets from this is to get his market value and the opportunity to stay with the Tigers. What the Tigers get from this is that they don’t get into a bidding war based only on the agent’s assertions: they let the other teams determine Sanchez’s worth, and then they accept it (or not).

  • OJ

    Where do the Tigers stand financially? Plays a big part in this.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Rich really old owner who wants to win before he dies.

  • MacPete

    Cubs can’t go and say 5 yrs 82?

  • http://Yes Dude

    Yu Darvish, Yasel Puig, Randall Delgado, Dan Haren, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Anibal Sanchez. This is getting embarrassing.

    • Jimmy james

      You got some apples and oranges in your cart there sir

      • Abe Froman

        Nice.

    • Carew

      Darvish: massive posting just got beaten out. Puig: already got our guy with Soler, and Puig was f’n expensive. Delgado: Dempster’s fault. Haren: health issues. Ryu: posting fee just beatin’ out. Sanchez: douche of an agent.

      What exactly are you saying?

    • cub2014

      think things through please. how many teams were in the running for these
      guys and of those teams (who have the win now mentality) didnt sign these
      guys. then on top of that look at the foreign talent we have signed in the
      last year. so lets be fair ok. now if we dont sign major talent next year then feel
      free to be upset.

  • Dustin

    Can the Cubs up the offer again? How do we know for sure that the Cubs only offered 5/75?

  • Dr. Percival Cox

    The Cubs front office almost certainly leaked this. They decided that, given that they were breaking the biggest story of their tenure, the guy to do it was Bob Freaking Nightengale. Not David Kaplan or Carrie Muskat. No, no, they don’t scratch the back of local journalists who they want a good working relationship with. They call the USA Today guy with a history of being wrong. They’re a crack organization that front office.

    • Whiteflag

      lol

  • TonyP

    Can someone come up with another team having a similar situation; let alone 3 in the last 6 months? I’m not saying the Cubs are or are not at fault in any of the 3 situations however. Just can’t remember this happening much but I follow the Cubs a lot closer than any other team obviously.

    The only thing I can think of is the Napoli situation and that is still up in the air…

    • Ron

      I was thinking the same thing. Is it just because I am paying more attention?

    • DocPeter Wimsey

      Actually, this happens to most other teams. Everything that has happened to the Sox, for example, is out there before it is actually completed. Their giant trade with LA was very old news when it happened.

      The Cubs have had a bad run of thIngs falling apart during the “finalization” stage(s). However, given that so many other leaked deals get finalize, it is obvious that leakage does not scupper deals. (The Dempster case might have been an exception: Demp might have been pissed to be told he had done something that he had not done!)

  • Justin

    I would give 5 yrs 90 mil with a signing bonus and a verting option if he finally pitches more than 200 innings for total 5 yrs/110

    • farmerjon

      6/96? …extra year extra million. He’d still only be 34 when the contract was up. Add to that the uncertainty with F/A salaries and availability, could prove to be a bargain. Also, generally speaking, what are a pitcher’s “prime years” age wise?

  • Turn Two

    Just follow brenlys advice, yes Kyle your right, I’m sorry and move on.

  • MichiganGoat

    Just so eceryone is clear it is the media is the one that hot played this FO has been hush hush through all this so if it turns out we lose its not thier fault.

  • http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com Myles – WCSW

    I’m just here to talk about Rampart.

    • Jimmy james

      I’m here for the gang bang?

  • gutshot5820

    At least the FO is trying and have a plan not to tank the season. This is all that I was asking for. Add one or two quality free agents a year until the kids can play. With the beefed up bullpen and Sanchez, plus add Bourn and trade for a third baseman, they would be in the theoretical place where if things go right they may qualify for a wild card.

    SP: Sanchez, Garza, Sam, Feldman/Viscaino, Baker/Wood (awesome rotation)
    RP: Marmol, Fujikawa, Russell, Camp, Bowden, Cabrera, Zych (quality pen)
    IF: Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Stewert/Trade (great defense)
    Outfield: Soriano, Bourn, Dejesus/Shierholtz (passable outfield)

    Now that team I would be able to watch and may surprise people, but Sanchez would be the key.

  • http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com Myles – WCSW

    I can conclusively state that the Cubs are either signing Anibal Sanchez or they aren’t.

    You can consider that solid information, please cite me if you use it.

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

    Trying to look on the bright side. Maybe all this “they didn’t really make the move” takebacks will get so out of hand that it turns out we never signed Gerardo Concepcion.

    • http://windycitysportswonk.blogspot.com Myles – WCSW

      Alternatively, through a series of leaks and falsehoods it turns out Soriano still has 6 years left on his deal

      • DarthHater

        Don’t even say that in jest.

    • DarthHater

      I was sure you were going to say Ian Stewart.

    • Tommy

      That was actually pretty funny.

  • MichiganGoat

    Okay why can’t I reply to anything? Everytime I try to comment on Darth calling for my sacrifice it becomes a new thread.

    • DarthHater

      Goat: Brett deleted a comment from you-know-who and now all the comments replying to the initial replies to the deleted comment are screwed up.

      • DarthHater

        Just stay away form the bottom of the thread. ;-)

      • MichiganGoat

        Darth: Ah Some BetterNews from 1967 always screws everything else. ;) But seriously sacrifice me I can’t handle the anger that is brewing.

  • steve

    Ok. if this is how it’s gonna be, we likely won’t know till tomorrow anyway. So my question is who in the hell is the pitcher we’ve lined up as a backup plan?

    • DarthHater

      Mordecai Three Fingers Brown.

      • Dougy D

        They just had a little piece on him on MLB network, Prime 9.

      • http://www.hookersorcake.com hookersorcake

        Burliegh Grimes!

    • gutshot5820

      Brett, any ideas who they might have in mind as a backup plan? If it’s Dempster I’m going to start banging my head against the wall.

      • Spencer

        I doubt the Cubs want to trade with the Red Sox.

        • TWC

          But if they do, hopefully it’ll be for a PTBNL. Or some other sort of “compensation”.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        At this level of pitcher, best guess is Edwin Jackson.

  • Craig

    This will make for a good “God’s Wrath” column tomorrow

  • MichiganGoat

    I’m so confused without the reply feature working these comments make no sense

  • MichiganGoat

    Okay now the comments are out of order, I think we have offically broke the Internet.

    • Wilbur

      Where’s Al Gore when you need him?

  • King Jeff

    I like the Cubs making a push for a top pitcher on the free agent market. It really is a positive sign moving forward no matter if they get him or not…

    • DarthHater

      Agreed.

      • MichiganGoat

        It still won’t stop the anger… MOAR WE HAVE THE MONEY RICKY IS CHEAP THED WANTS TO LOSE THIS FO IS STUPID RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE

        • DarthHater

          Now you are being an enabler, Goat.

          • MichiganGoat

            Silly Sith Lord …. I’m being a sheep BAAAAAAH

            • DarthHater

              Wolves! Wolves!!

          • TWC

            A Caribbean recipe without citrus, chiles, or annatto? Embarrassing.

            • TWC

              Well, that reply is clearly in the wrong place…

              • MichiganGoat

                WE BROKE THE INTERWEB

            • DarthHater

              That’s what ten seconds on google will get you.

  • Ryan

    Anything by John Steinbeck. East of Eden = amazingness

  • nkniacc13

    Hope the Cubs have a trade to get a bit of 40 man room cleared up

  • MC2

    WOW! Can’t believe all the haters out there. Did anyone really expect them to honestly compete in 2013? Free Agent market is pretty weak, not to mention the puzzle pieces don’t exactly fit. “They need to trade for players”, that’s a great theory if you can find a trade partner who’s not going to try and ass rape your minor league system. A minor league system that just now is starting to rise up under the guidance of THIS FO. No one promised a World Series Team this season. Hell we just now are catching up to other organizations in FO size, coaching, minor leagues instruction. I for one am damn proud of what has taken place so far. Some thought is actually going into this club now and it’s no longer just a roll of Dusty’s Dugout Dice. The money is going to be there when the talent warrants it, until then Buck-up and take it their doing it right!

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