After Tanner Roark was traded, it was widely expected that the Washington Nationals would look to add a starter. It appears they have one in Anibal Sanchez.
The Washington Nationals made their second foray into the starting pitching market on Friday evening. They reportedly agreed to a deal with Anibal Sanchez who was coming off a huge bounce-back season with the Atlanta Braves.
Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press was the first to report the two sides had agreed to terms. Fenech then followed up with the terms, reporting that it is a two-year, $19 million deal with a team option for 2021 as well as further incentives.
Sanchez had a great season in 2018, going 7-6 with a promising 2.83 ERA after a down few years to finish his time with the Detroit Tigers. Now he’ll be hoping to continue that resurgence in D.C. with the Nationals.
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During his time in Detroit, Sanchez did have some good years, even finishing third in the AL Cy Young voting at one point when he posted a 14-8 record and 2.57 ERA. However, in his last three seasons there, he put up a 5.67 ERA in 68 starts and 20 relief appearances as he lost his touch.
However, in Atlanta, Sanchez was able to fool hitters a bit more with a lofty soft contact percentage that prevented hitters from doing much damage. Evidently, the Nationals are hoping that this trend will continue with the team and prove to be successful in the long.
The $9.5 million annual average that has been reported for the deal is roughly around what Tanner Roark was expected to make in arbitration this year, so there has been next to no saving on that front. The Nats’ front office clearly thinks that Sanchez is a better bet to replicate his 2018 performance than Roark is to return to his 2016 levels.
This move now leaves the projected rotation to be: Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, Joe Ross. The team could even look to add another starter before Spring Training begins, but it may only be on a minor league deal given the funds already allocated to pitching.
Anibal Sanchez may not necessarily be the name that Washington Nationals fans were hoping to see in their rotation, but at the team did act to shore up their starting pitching this winter. This may not be the last move they make to do so either.