DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers have made another major move to help their quest to win a World Series for the first time since 1984.
Right-handed pitcher Anibal Sanchez agreed to an $80 million, five-year contract with the Tigers, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Friday. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement hasn’t been finalized, said Sanchez is scheduled for a physical Monday.
Sanchez was a part of Detroit’s four-man rotation that led the franchise to World Series this year. He had a 1.77 ERA in 201/3 innings over three postseason starts, but was 1-2 because Detroit was shut out in each of his losses.
“He was big for us in the playoffs, I just wish we scored a couple more runs for him and for our team,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. “He’s a big-time pitcher.”
The Tigers acquired the 28-year-old Venezuelan in July from Miami along with second baseman Omar Infante for right-hander Jacob Turner and two minor leaguers. As a free agent he also was pursued by the Chicago Cubs.
Sanchez got off to a shaky start with the Tigers, but improved toward the end of the regular season and finished 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA for Detroit. He is 48-51 with a 3.75 ERA since making his major league debut with the Marlins in 2006.
Justin Verlander leads Detroit’s rotation, which also includes Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Sanchez. The Tigers pitched well in the playoffs, but their bats let the team down when San Francisco swept them in the World Series.
Detroit was shut out twice, scored just three runs in the two other games and had the third-lowest batting average in Series history at .159.
Detroit addressed a need last month by signing outfielder Torii Hunter to a $26 million, two-year deal and this week, the franchise made sure it didn’t have to find another starting pitcher..
“It’s definitely big for us to know Sanchez is coming back,” Avila said. “He makes us better and makes our rotation really deep.”
Suzuki, Yanks close to deal
NEW YORK — Ichiro Suzuki and the New York Yankees closed in Friday on a $13 million, two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The sides still had to finalize language and the deal will be subject to a physical, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not complete. Suzuki will get $6.5 million a year.
Acquired from the Seattle Mariners on July 23, the 39-year-old Suzuki revived his career in New York. His batting average jumped from .261 with the Mariners, to .322 with the Yankees, with five homers, 27 RBI and 14 steals.
A 10-time All-Star, Suzuki has 2,606 hits in 12 major league seasons.
Also Friday, New York finalized a $12 million, one-year contract with Kevin Youkilis, who is expected to start at third base during the first half of the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery scheduled for next month.
Yanks hit with $18.9M luxury tax
NEW YORK — The New York Yankees have been hit with an $18.9 million luxury tax by Major League Baseball, the 10th consecutive year they will pay a penalty for their spending.
The Yankees finished with a $222.5 million payroll for purposes of the tax, according to figures sent to teams Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press.
Following its payroll-shedding trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer, Boston finished just $47,177 under the $178 million threshold. The Los Angeles Angels wound up at $176.7 million and Philadelphia at $174.5 million.
Figures include average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters, adjustments for cash in trades and $10.8 million per team in benefits.
New York has run up a luxury tax bill of $224.2 million over the past decade.
Wigginton, Cards agree to deal
ST. LOUIS — Free agent infielder Ty Wigginton and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a $5 million, two-year contract.
General manager John Mozeliak announced the agreement Friday and said Wigginton gives the Cardinals a right-handed bat “with punch.”
The 35-year-old Wigginton, who will make $2.5 million annually, has hit 15 or more homers six times during 11 big league seasons. He had 22 in 2010, when he was an All-Star with Baltimore.
Wigginton has a .263 career average with 169 home runs and 591 RBI in 1,315 games with the New York Mets (2002-04), Pittsburgh (2004-05), Tampa Bay (2006-07), Houston (2007-08), Baltimore (2009-10), Colorado (2011) and Philadelphia (2012). He has played 100 or more games in each of the past seven seasons.
He can earn additional performance bonuses.