Right-hander Anibal Sanchez struck a five-year deal Friday with the Detroit Tigers that will pay the pitcher $80 million, a source said.
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The Tigers announced the deal Monday, though they did not disclose financial terms.
The Chicago Cubs, seeking to make a bold move in the free-agent market, had raised their bid to $77.5 million over five years before the Tigers won out, sources said.
Sanchez, 28, would have given the Cubs a front-line starter to build around.
Instead, the agreement with Sanchez gives the Tigers one of the best rotations in the American League — topped by Justin Verlander, then followed by Max Scherzer and Doug Fister.
Sanchez would assume one of the top four spots, with Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly the leading candidates for the fifth spot.
The Tigers still do not have a proven closer, but could either trade for one or sign one in free agency.
Sanchez has pitched 195 innings or more in each of the past three seasons, and is 48-51 with a 3.75 ERA in his career. He joined the Florida Marlins in 2006 and remained with them until being sent last July to Detroit, where he was 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA during the regular season.
He pitched even better in the postseason, going 1-2 with a 1.77 ERA for the Tigers.
Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer had Sanchez when he was a minor leaguer with the Boston Red Sox. The Sox traded Sanchez along with shortstop Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins in November 2005, getting right-hander Josh Beckett, third baseman Mike Lowell and reliever Guillermo Mota in return.