WASHINGTON—The Nationals have agreed to a deal with right-handed starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, pending a physical, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Thursday evening. Sanchez’s contract is for two years and $19 million with a club option for 2021, giving Washington another veteran arm in a rotation that was thinned of its depth when Tanner Roark was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds last week.
Sanchez was one of the Nationals’ initial targets after trading Roark, and conversations with Sanchez’s representatives spilled into this week. That led Washington to add the 34-year-old who finished 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA with the Atlanta Braves last season.
Sanchez, who has split much of his career between the Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers, finished with a career-low 2.57 ERA in 2013 and finished fourth in American League Cy Young Award voting at the end of that season. He has since turned in up-and-down results as a back-of-the-rotation starter, but saw his numbers greatly improve with the Braves in 2018. He was particularly tough on Washington, posting a 1.50 ERA in 18 innings against the team this past year.
The agreement with Sanchez is yet another move of the Nationals’ tireless offseason, which has now included eight significant moves and the addition of two starting pitchers. The team has otherwise made two moves to improve its bullpen, acquired two proven catchers, signed prized left-handed starter Patrick Corbin, traded Roark to the Reds to give themselves financial flexibility, and brought back first baseman Matt Adams this past weekend.
The Nationals’ rotation for the coming season is expected to include Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Corbin and Sanchez, with the fifth spot not clear at the moment.