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.

  • Pingback: Report: Cubs Sign Anibal Sanchez | Midway Madness()

  • Don

    Doesn’t Ricketts have more money than Detroit’s owner? Up the offer and get Sanchez signed Theo!!!!!!!

    • Noah

      Illitch has a ton of money, is very old and desperately wants to win a World Series before he dies. It’s hard to outspend the Tigers when they want something these days.

  • King Jeff

    The anger from fans including my displeasure comes from the fact that we are a big market team with a small market payroll. Like everyone has been saying we can build the two fronts from the farm system to the big league club at the same time. I think if we do acquire Sanchez it will be a big step towards doing that.

    • DarthHater

      We are a big market team with a crap stadium revenue situation and a crap media revenue situation. However, I agree about the two fronts. And it appears that perhaps the FO agrees, too.

  • TWC

    I’m pretty sure we’re only inches away from breaking the BN comment record on this thread.

    • Whiteflag

      I think its getting close.

      • TWC

        IIRC, it was a shade over 500…

  • Jon

    Sound byte to describe the whole scenario

    I found out that everybody talks
    Everybody talks, everybody talks

    It started with a whisper….

    • Brett

      I needed that. Thanks.

    • Carew

      and that was when I kissed her…

      couldn’t resist

  • Gcheezpuff

    I don’t understand why everyone cares who leaked the info. Does anyone really think that the agent wouldn’t have just gone back to the tigers and said “we got a better offer from the Cubs, match or we sign with them”. Who cares if the media reported the news early. The FO is so tight lipped my guess is that if the media gets a whiff of anything they are going to report it. If Theo wants Sanchez he needs to beat the tigers offer, end of story. I bet if the tigers beat the Cubs offer, the agent probably goes back to Theo to see if he raises. Whenever I buy a car I work 3 dealers through the internet and pin them against each other until no one will beat the offer in hand. Same theory applies here, Tigers have upper hand in that if offers are equal, they probably win…. Cubs have to overpay to win. If you are OK with Sanchez on an overpay, hope the cubs pull trigger…

  • #1lahairfan

    We are probably losing him.

  • Sircub

    I don’t understand why the tigers even have to think about matching this offer.

  • Jason Grilli

    Hey! Where were all these comments when I didn’t sign with the Cubs???

    • #1lahairfan

      Whoah is that really you?

  • another JP

    Seems to me this deal has red flags all over it and if I were Theo I’d just walk away. My first thought is why would Mato and Sanchez just insist on an extra year at the same AAV in a market that’s certain to escalate in the next several years? A guy with his talent should be able to get $20M/yr. by the time he’s 34… unless he does indeed have shoulder pain and is opting for the sure $15M in case he is injured or regresses. From my perspective, agents or players who deal dirty aren’t normally a good example to set for fellow players and would look out for their own interests instead of the team. And $15M/yr. for a 4.0 WAR player isn’t that great a bargain anyway…. just say next.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    This is getting absurd

    Ryan Dempster trade w/ Atlanta that never happened, Dan Haren trade w/ Angels never happened, and now the Anibal Sanchez signing. I don’t know but this is really getting annoying. Get hopes up then gets dashed how many times does this have to happen to the Cubs

  • gridge

    The longer the wait the more time it gives the FO time to make another offer beating the tigers offer. I like that we havent yet found out where he is choosing to go, even though its killling me on the inside.

  • Morken

    I really have no problem with the way this has been reported. At the very least, us fans get to be informed of every turn of events. You can’t kill the messengers.

    Also, I appreciate Brett’s updates. Dude works his butt off.

    • Brett

      I knew you didn’t hate me completely.

      (I kid.)

      • Morken

        Despite my earlier comments, your site is my favorite sports site to visit.

        • Brett

          Thank you very much. And disagreements remain welcome.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs could offer a 6th year option that kicks in if he pitches at least 180 innings in each of the last 2 years, otherwise offer a $2M buyout.

  • Muck

    Could we have an update #30 or something lol

    • Brett

      Boom. Not a great one, though.

      • Muck

        Oh i don’t care I just wanted something to read haha

  • curt

    just 1 time ,just once would someone whos reporting a deal being done actually be right about a deal being done. does this qualify yet as a cubbie occurence .

  • OJ

    Starting to get late….I’ve been sitting in front of the computer like a jerkoff for hrs. Betcha this thing doesn’t get settled tonight. Meh.

  • miggy80

    I didn’t wash any dishes because of this, but I drank some Budweiser!

  • North Side Irish

    David Kaplan ‏@thekapman
    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)

    Villanueva is going to be quite a disappoint if he’s the fallback option. Was hoping for E. Jackson…

    • Kyle

      Mike Adams, however, would make me pretty happy.

      • King Jeff

        Would love to get Adams, and wouldn’t mind taking a shot with Villanueva as depth, he’d be a nice swing option.

      • North Side Irish

        Most definitely. I actually feel like the Cubs would have a really strong bullpen if they could add one more veteran arm like Adams.

  • Brian Peters

    I can’t take this crap. I just need to start reading about this crap in the morning paper because at least I’ll know all the talking’s over, for good or bad.

  • DarthHater

    Okay, enough is enough. I’m heading out for some dinner. May the Dark Side of the Force be with you all.

  • Curt

    Nothing is ever easy. Ever.

  • Dustin

    I’m guessing Villanueva will be a Cub if we don’t sign Sanchez

  • FalseInfoSucksA$$

    Maybe it’s time to not post things like this until it’s actually a done deal. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Seems like a reoccurring trend. Love your site and all you do, but it’s heartbreaking to keep getting your hopes up only to find out that your “sources” don’t know jack.

    • King Jeff

      So Brett should quit posting any kind of speculation because you can’t handle the disappointment?

    • Brett

      I’m open to all suggestions, but that’s not one I’ll ever take you up on. I offer here whatever information I have available to me with all appropriate analysis/caveats/explanation/interpretation/caution. I don’t think I can take too much blame on this.

      • Pat

        AM 1000 was reporting this around five today. It was a valid rumor. They don’t always work out, and in today’s media they can’t wait for final confirmation.

  • fortyonenorth

    At this point, I can really appreciate how the Angels played the Hamilton offer: take it or leave it. No BS.

    • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

      More than that, how lousy the Texas Rangers approach has been. The winter might end with them making no major moves to improve that team and actually regressing by the players who have departed.

      Negotiating with Hamilton was poorly done.

  • Blublud

    Villanueva woukd be a good get, but Sanchez is the guy. If we can get noth, I say go for it. Then a vouple of our young guys and get one better guy to create roster spots.

  • Pat

    Well, if we do lose out I hope they still give Jed a participation medal for coming in second. would have been nice to add a piece that would actually be part of the future. Still could happen I guess.

    • Brett

      Do you have that on copy/paste standby?

      • Pat

        No, but I have the reaction skills of a cat (sans pajamas). If it needs reposting I got it covered.

  • calicubsfan007

    Come on Tigers, please don’t match. You have plenty of other pitchers to dote on. *Knocking on wood, saying a couple Our Fathers, Drinking a little, etc. What ever gets the media luck to turn our way.* (=

  • calicubsfan007

    Hey, Brett, the messages are posting weird again.

  • cheryl

    For what its worth a Michigan paper says Sanchez wants between $80 and $90 million over five years. Here’s the cite. – Cached
    FO call it a day. He’s not worth it.