The mystery team has struck again, and this time, it's the Chicago Cubs. They're reportedly close to signing free agent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, the second-best arm on the market this winter to Zack Greinke, to a five-year deal worth a reported $75 million. We didn't even consider the Cubs when looking at Sanchez's potential mystery team suitors last week. Sanchez would join Scott Baker and Scott Feldman as new members of the Cubs rotation, joining holdovers Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija, as well as potential long reliever Travis Wood.
If the $75 million figure is accurate, the Cubs would be getting a pretty good deal on Sanchez, a guy who I loved coming into this offseason. They would control Sanchez for his age 29 to 33 seasons, his prime years, and are getting a pitcher who doesn't need to be the top banana on the team thanks to the presence of the similarly aged pitchers in the Cubs rotation that can all bear the weight of being "the guy" equally. Chicago seems to be a perfect landing spot for Sanchez as a team that will have low expectations heading into the year, but has several building blocks in place for the future.
$15 million per season is assuming that Sanchez will be a three win pitcher (at best) during his Cubs career, and that doesn't even take inflation into account. Signing Sanchez also will make the eventual departure of Garza (be it via trade or free agency) easier to deal with for the Cubs when the time does come, and the team will be in much less dire of a situation when it comes to that.
I'm seeing a lot of people trashing this potential deal, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because Sanchez doesn't have the same pop as someone like Greinke deal because he played in anonymity in Miami and was overshadowed during his half season in Detroit. But despite not blowing anyone away with his statline, Sanchez remains one of the most underrated pitchers in the game. I'm sure he would lose that tag with his salary and playing in the large Chicago market for 2013 and beyond.