Nats strengthen rotation with Sanchez signing

Ben Krimmel
December 21, 2018 - 9:41 am
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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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The Washington Nationals have agreed to terms with starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, according to multiple media reports. 

Sanchez will sign a 2-year, $19 million deal with a club option for 2021, per MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman. The right-hander will give Washington another veteran arm in the rotation after the ball club traded Tanner Roark to the Cincinnati Reds. 

Sanchez, who turns 35 in February, rebounded from a horrid stretch of form with a solid season in Atlanta, pitching to a 2.83 ERA over 136 2/3 innings in 24 starts. The Nationals hope the Venezuelan can avoid the 5.67 ERA he posted during his last three seasons in Detroit.

The structure of the deal will give the Nats more flexibility to make moves in the short term, deferring six of the 19 million Sanchez is owed over the next two seasons to 2021, The Washington Post reported.

Sanchez was one of several names floated around baseball as potential replacements for Roark, joining Wade Miley and Lance Lynn. One concern about Sanchez is his durability compared to Roark, who pitched over 180 innings in each of the last three seasons. Sanchez last reached that total in 2013. 

Washington now has its rotation pretty well filled out with an intimidating big three of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, who signed earlier this offseason, and Sanchez behind them. The fifth spot could be filled by Joe Ross and Erick Fedde.

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Update: The Nationals confirmed the signing of Sanchez on Dec. 27. 

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