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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.

  • Morken

    Even if this doesn’t go through, I’m encouraged at the front office’s efforts, here.

    It’s not about the player, for me, as it is about an encouraging timeline. This effort gives me confidence that 2014 is this FO’s target date for true competitiveness.

  • daveyrosello

    LOL at this front office….closing the deal 101.

  • calicubsfan007

    I can’t post comments to people’s posts on here. Like, I can’t click reply and put this message here. So sorry about any inconvenience. @Cheryl: Paying $5 million more for a decent pitcher would not bug me, but I agree with your point that this is starting to get ridiculous.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I wonder if I can reply now. Test.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Sure can

      • MichiganGoat

        Sweet

      • calicubsfan007

        @Brett: For some reason, an hour ago, when I tried to reply to her, it kept jumping back to the home page. It seems okay now though. (=

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah – there was an issue that I *may* have been able to fix.

          • calicubsfan007

            @Brett: Thanks (=. For me at least, the BN server acts weird after you remove someone’s comment on here. This kind of shenanigans has happened to me before. But no worries. (=

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Yes … let’s just say, I think that was related.

              • calicubsfan007

                @Brett: I understand. I missed what comment was removed, but I understand you did what you had to do. Again, no worries hombre. I am not complaining, just letting you know when things on here go crazy.

                • D.G.Lang

                  I just came on here and read this remark and my machine did an immediate reboot.

                  It seems like some previous problems with this site are popping up again.

              • calicubsfan007

                @Brett: Maybe you should check and make sure no one is screwing with the site.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Maybe that 5yr/$75 million is what he wants Detroit to give him and he will sign and they are unwilling to go beyond that 4yr/$60 million. Hopefully?

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Testing a comment. Think we’ve got some breakage.

    • hansman1982

      oh great, we have broken the BN comments board.

      • lukers63

        Wrecked ‘em, damn near killed ‘em.

  • B_Scwared

    A decision would be nice. My refresh button is getting worn out.

  • Dustin

    I still think Sanchez will let the Cubs make a counter offer..why wouldn’t he!?! Say Det says they will match the 5/75, why wouldn’t he go back to the Cubs and say offer more or I’m signing with Det. I would offer maybe 5/80 but I don’t know about 6 years.

    • hansman1982

      At this point, if the Cubs front office has been used without their knowledge he’d be a fool to come back to them asking for more money or years.

      The agent may call to say they Tigers have offered X and wait for Theo to throw the phone against the wall.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        I truly think he either takes this offer we have given or he takes the Tigers what they are currently offering. I think both put their best offer out there, and it comes down to who blinks. If the Tigers blink, they get him at 5 years. If he doesn’t want to wait, and blinks, he is a Cub. Imo

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Tigers don’t go 5 years for pitchers. That is the holdup. They only have done that once and its the best pitcher in the game. We did. It is either going to be money, or a place to win.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Hmmmmmmmm Let’s see, contender team or crap team rebuilding, hmmmmmmmmm

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      I am not so sure we are if we add him and we have progression from other young players. I could see us fighting upwards of .500. Not just because of him, but our bullpen is getting better. That is what we need more than anything. Our bullpen was horrible last year. If we get that patched up, we could be getting better a little better than people think.

    • hansman1982

      If Olney was right with Price and the Cubs don’t mind paying a ton of prospects, 2014 could be a highly interesting year (assuming we do land Sanchez and extend Garza)

      • Lou

        Do you think the Cubs would resemble some of things the Rays are doing? I mean in terms of building through pitching and defense?

        • hansman1982

          It could be…defense is a highly under-rated aspect of the game – kind of like a catcher’s receiving ability. Still need offense though which it seems they are counting on Rizzo to have a big year…

          • Lou

            I think we’re going to appreciate that trade when it’s all said and done.

      • Josh

        Only problem is it would require the majority of our top prospects now who will be in the field who are expected to be the whole turning point in becoming competitive.

        • Lou

          Something makes me worry about him being traded to the Cards though.

  • MichiganGoat

    What a night huh maybe it’s time to follow Uncle Pete’s advice and HAVE A FUCKING BEER. I hope everyone else had a chance to see that last night.

  • MichiganGoat

    550 comments and 33 updates – WE ARE SO BREAKING THE BN SERVERS TONIGHT!

    • MichiganGoat

      The great thing is when I started being regular on BN a post was lucky to have 20 comments and half of those were TWC and me talking beer. Brett yous alls grows up and yous grows up good, look at this little hobby you once has grown into this Mecca of Cubs obsession- great work as always. CHEERS

      • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

        Goat, how much have you had to drink?? lol

        • MichiganGoat

          Not that much in fact only one I just got intoxicated by all the news, and it fun to watch this site grow the way it has.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        I remember last year when we broke like 300.

  • http://bleachernation.com frank hutch

    Is this the cubs way that they were talking about. Falsely reporting that a deal is done just to have it fall apart. This is the 3rd time. Its getting really old

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Yes that is exactly right. The leaks have been from the Cubs side every time.

      • MichiganGoat

        Beat me to it – these comments are ignorance at its best

        • hansman1982

          The Cubs should be able to button up every leak everywhere…

  • Troy

    What would the rotation be if we land both?

    • hansman1982

      Garza, Sanchez, Shark, Feldman, Villaneuva, Wood, Baker (7th only due to TJ surgery)

  • bbmoney

    Update #34. I like the sound of both.

    Any 5 year pitcher signing comes with a lot of risk due to pitcher attrition, and Sanchez has a history of some shoulder issues….but his age and skills are a huge positive, I’m really hoping he’s wearing cubbie blue next year.

    • bbmoney

      and then update #35…….I should probably just go to bed.

  • hansman1982

    holy freekin schneikes…if Cubs add Sanchez AND Villanueva – 2013 will be one interesting year…

    • Assman22

      Cubs are more interested in E-Jax than Villanueva and yes that’s even if they get Sanchez. Personally, I think Villanueva could be a great value sign, but that’s neither here nor there. IF Cubs get both E-Jax and Sanchez, Garza’s value rises and he’ll be dealt asap to the highest bidder…

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

        Assman, when you say “dealt asap” you don’t mean before spring training, do you?

        • Assman22

          He’s already started throwing again, albeit he’s a ways away from getting back to where he was. Two months before ST starts, just depends on how he progresses…

      • TonyP

        What kind of contract can Edwin Jackson expect?

  • Troy

    I hope he pulls a Josh Hamilton and says you have had plenty of time to sign me… I’m going where I am wanted.

    • MichiganGoat

      Except Hamilton got an offer he’d never get with Rangers, this is kind of different Sanchez wants to be in Detroit and might get the same offer. I just hope we get to counter offer.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        He has excellent value at 4 years. That 5th is iffy, imo. I can’t see us going to a 6th year. That would be scary.

        • MichiganGoat

          He’d only be 34 it wouldn’t be the worse thing to go 6 years.

          • MichiganGoat

            Plus in 6 years contracts will be easily over 20M a year the way things are progressing right now.

          • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

            He does turn 29 in February so he would be 35 when the deal is done on 6 years. Again, not that old. But, an aging horse isn’t one I want to bet the farm on when he isn’t the last piece. I don’t think that signing carries the same value as 5 years. You lose leverage in 10/5. We know that is huge w/ the FO. By the comments I get the feeling if we offered the 6th year it would have been over.

            • MichiganGoat

              Great point that 10/5 thing is a huge part of this FO and something I hadn’t considered maybe a 5/80 deal would win and I’d hope we’d give a couple extra M to get him.

              • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

                See, that with the escalating contracts, imo, wouldn’t be bad at all. That is a very good deal for a FA with upside at that price.

              • hansman1982

                5/75 with vesting option for the 6th year.

  • Blublud

    I must say that now, even if I dont end up with either Sanchez or Villanueva, the FO is easing my nerves just for attempting to sign these guys. Give me good news in the AM Brett. Im going to bed a happy Cubs fan.

    • hansman1982

      as I have been saying all along – it’s about signing the right guys to the right contracts.

      • MichiganGoat

        Paging Kyle a hansman v Kyle debate is on the floor.

        • hansman1982

          he’ll be debating with himself

  • CRazyhorse

    First I was surprized that the Cubs even offered Sanchez a contract and the suspence is kinda cool. Even if the Cubs dont get Sanchez you gotta respect the effor…t either way. awesome.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Personally I think 35 is the Cubs FO way of saying we aren’t going higher. Take our bid or leave it. I still think if Detroit truly offered a 5th year this would be over and that is what the holdup is.

    • MichiganGoat

      You might be right his agent has played this beautifully and hopefully the Tigers pass but I doubt it their owner is hungry to win.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        The thing we have going for us is they have a very firm understanding they don’t like to take pitchers 5 years. They broke that with Verlander. I don’t see them doing that for him. He is solid but he isn’t a Verlander. Theo and Jed know that. They probably thought that would be the deal breaker. For “pessimism” to come out of the Cubs FO, you have to believe his agent said 6 years and this is done. That is why they leaked that, to say this is done. Its kind of funny, because now that we are starting to get a feel from this FO, you can almost envision some of the things going on, because they are so methodical.

  • MichiganGoat

    Well shit update 35 really sucks, I hope they can counter with something like 6/85M

  • 5412

    Hi,

    OK, here is how the game is played. Teams know that the agent will play one against the other. It is no different than the bidding that goes on in Storage Wars; there are times guys will bid things up just to sting their competitor. The Cubs may well have another prospect in mind and want to take Detroit out of the market.

    HERE IS WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD.

    The negotiations gets down to the end. Eventually the team says, “If we make this offer do we have a deal?” There is no double cross unless the agent and/or players says yes, then shops that offer to another team. Should that happen, teams will quickly make that public/private knowledge like “this agent can’t be trusted” which puts him at a disadvantage with all his other clients.

    When guys like Hendry said, “We have a good relationship with this or that agent” he meant they played by the rules of the negotiation game which all understood in dealing with Hendry.

    There was a reason that a Scott Boras client was rated as high as #2 or #3 in the player draft, and was not taken until #8 and then not signed. Other players will take note of that.

    regards,
    5412

    • MichiganGoat

      I’ll give his agent all the props if he gets a 5/75 deal from the Tigers – nicely played by him. This is where the modern era of social media has done to negotiations – we now way more about the process than we did a few years ago but I believe this stuff has always be happening.

      • calicubsfan007

        @MG: That would be one of the smartest agents on the planet if that is the case. Just psyched that I can post again.

  • Dustin

    I’m sure something will happen at 4am

  • JB88

    I have a very hard time believing anything Sullivan writes. His hand’s on a cadaver.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Carrie has that right. Garza is the one dude you would want on your side. He should call if he knows him.

  • MacPete

    Seeing how next years free agent class of starting pitchers is kind of weak, would be crucial. Even though at this point, I’m convinced he’ll be a tiger

  • Dustin

    Det probably asked to sleep on it tonight and will give them a answer in the AM

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      I get the feeling Detroit isn’t holding the cards right now.

      • Dustin

        Elaborate ?

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          If they were he would have ok’d their deal. He got the 5 year deal he wanted, but not from the team he wanted. That is why this isn’t over yet.

    • hansman1982

      Just wonder if Sanchez then called them back saying he’d love them to the end of time…

  • Brian cubs fan

    I think the longer it takes the better chance the cubs have because if the tigers would have matched or exceeded the cubs offer he would have re signed by now since they havent the the cubs have the upper hand if this drags on

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Thats what I am atleast hopeful for.

    • calicubsfan007

      @Brian: I agree. The real thing we have to worry about is the stupid jinx that seems to happen when it comes to media people jumping the gun with Cubs stuff and eventually screwing with all Cubs fans. I think that is really what we are worries about.

  • Rizzo44

    It’s been a very long night so far… Would be beautiful when I wake up at 11am tommorow (taking a sick day cause I don’t wanna go) and see he signs with the Cubs. If he signs, that will probably mean we extend Garza.

  • North Side Irish

    I tweeted Garza and told him I’d heard Sanchez was waiting for Garza to sign an extension before committing. But unlike fancy boy Brett, I’m not cool enough to get a reply.

    • hansman1982

      Here was my lame-o tweet:

      @Gdeuceswild #MakeTheCall #MakeTheCall #MakeTheCall (then would it hurt to sign a 5 year – $10M extension?) #JusSayin…

  • Mac

    Just heard on abc news that it’s not looking likely that the tigers will match

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Which ABC news?

      • Mac

        Channel 7

        • Whiteflag

          Chicago

  • 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. 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He also has an injury history. I have no doubt his agent will sound out the market before Garza signs an extension (with whoever), but I’d not be surprised if he signed one.

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