Agent Gene Mato Sanchez agrees to 5 year,$80 million deal w #Tigers— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2012
UPDATE: Monday, December 17 at 12:36 p.m. ET
The Tigers have officially re-signed pitcher Anibal Sanchez, according to MLive.com's Chris Iott.
Tigers announce they have reached agreement on five-year contract with Anibal Sanchez with a club option for the 2018 season. #Tigers— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) December 17, 2012
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Sanchez went 9-13 with a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts split between the Tigers and Miami Marlins last season. He joined the Tigers after a midseason trade, posting a 3.74 ERA in 12 starts with Detroit.
The 28-year-old right-hander became one of the best players left on the pitching market after Zack Greinke signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the week. It forced the Tigers to move quickly to ensure Sanchez returned.
He's hardly a bargain at $16 million per season, but the lack of starting pitching depth on the free-agent market forced the Tigers into a sizable offer to make sure he didn't get away. The Chicago Cubs were heavily involved in the sweepstakes as well.
Sanchez remains in a rotation led by Justin Verlander that also features Max Scherzer and Doug Fister. It gives the Tigers one of the American League's deepest rotations as they look to rebound from a World Series defeat.
Detroit will probably slot Sanchez in the No. 2 or No. 3 slot in its rotation. It's a good fit because he's not an ace—although his contract would suggest he'd better pitch like one—but he should continue to be a reliable piece of the pitching staff.
The good news for the Tigers is that he was a young free agent at just 28. That means he should be able to make it through the duration of the contract without suffering any serious decline, which isn't always the case for high-priced free-agent signings.
It was a necessary move for the Tigers, so they deserve credit for stepping up to finish the deal.