The Detroit Tigers have locked up their key trade deadline acquisition from last summer. Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers came to an agreement on a 5-year deal worth $80 million dollars on Friday morning. Rumors had spread on Thursday evening that Sanchez was closing in on signing with the Chicago Cubs, but Detroit was given a chance to match their offer.
This deal has Mike Illitch all over it. Illitch has wanted nothing more than to win a World Series, and he thought keeping Sanchez was a key to the Tigers remaining a contender.
With Sanchez locked up through 2017, the focus shifts to who will be the 5th starter, and who will be the odd man out between Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly. Initial reports have the Tigers putting Porcello on the trade block. The Tigers seem to have enough right handed arms, and putting Porcello on the market seems to make the most sense.
Sanchez's $80 million dollar deal can only make Tigers fans wonder what Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander will command when their deals are up in the coming years (2015 for Max, 2014 for JV). Between the contracts of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter, Sanchez, and Verlander, Detroit's payroll could easily touch or surpass $200 million very soon. Tigers fans are very lucky to have an owner who wants to win, no matter the cost.
Looking ahead, the Tigers still need to add a few left-handed arms in the bullpen. The closer's role appears to be rookie Bruce Rondon's to lose in Spring Training. I doubt they'll continue to pursue deals for Jhonny Peralta, as has been reported in the past. Look for Rick Porcello and OF Brennan Boesch to be the next Tigers to leave town. Seattle has had discussions about Boesch, but nothing serious has come of the talks.
The Tigers are certainly in prime position to contend for another World Series berth, and they'll need it. The L.A. Angels added OF slugger Josh Hamilton on Thursday too. Hamilton joins a lineup that already features AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and perennial AL Cy Young contender Jered Weaver. Look for the Tigers and Angels to be serious competitors this coming summer.
Opening Day is just 111 days away! Summer 2013 can't come soon enough!