The Washington Nationals continue to make their starting rotation one of the best in baseball. Their most recent addition comes in the form of a free agent signing as they’ve agreed to a two-year, $19 million deal with righty Anibal Sanchez, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.
The Nationals have agreed to a deal with right-hander Anibal Sanchez, I’m told.— Anthony Fenech (@anthonyfenech) December 20, 2018
Sanchez’s deal is for two years and $19 million plus incentives, I’m told.— Anthony Fenech (@anthonyfenech) December 20, 2018
The deal also includes $4 million in incentives, as well as an option for the 2021 season worth $12 million, per FanCred’s Jon Heyman. That puts the total possible earnings of this contract at $35 million.
Anibal gets 19M for 2 years plus option, 4M incentives. Could reach 33M for 3 years #nats— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 20, 2018
Sanchez, 34, has posted solid numbers throughout his 13 major-league seasons, including a combined 12 seasons with the Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers. He spent 2018 with the Atlanta Braves, so the Nationals will be his third National League East team.
Last season, Sanchez was 7-6 with a 2.83 earned run average over 24 starts and one relief appearance. Throughout more than 136 innings, Sanchez allowed just 48 runs on 106 hits, including 15 homers. He also walked 42 batters and struck out 135.
Although he has never been an All-Star, he has been in the running for two significant awards in his career. In his rookie season with the Marlins back in 2006, Sanchez ranked just inside the Top 10, at number 9, for Rookie of the Year. In 2013 with Detroit, he held the fourth spot in the American League Cy Young battle.
Sanchez was actually drafted by the Boston Red Sox but was sent to the Marlins in the huge 2005 seven-player deal involving Hanley Ramirez, Mike Lowell, and Josh Beckett. In 2012, Sanchez was sent to Detroit in a five-player trade along with Omar Infante. He didn’t join a new team until 2018, but there was one team in between the Tigers and Braves: the Minnesota Twins, who signed him in February and released him less than three weeks later. It was not until March 16th that he inked his deal with the Braves.
Sanchez’s career cash earnings prior to signing with Washington was just over $96 million; however, his deal with the Nats will put that way beyond the $100 million mark.
With Atlanta in 2018, when facing the Nationals, Sanchez posted terrific stats, holding Washington batters to a .159 batting average over 18 innings, picking up a 1.50 ERA.
Sanchez joins a dominant starting rotation that already featured Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals’ busy offseason has already seen several moves, such as trading Tanner Roark to the Cincinnati Reds, acquiring Yan Gomes from the Cleveland Indians and Kyle Barraclough from the Marlins, and signing Patrick Corbin, Matt Adams, Trevor Rosenthal and Kurt Suzuki.
The Nationals look like legitimate contenders in a division that is suddenly filled with playoff-hopefuls.