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Wire Taps: Nationals sign Anibal Sanchez, defer the money; Daniel Murphy to Rockies; Can Sanchez succeed in D.C.?

Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news, which saw the Nats add another starter to the mix for 2019...

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St Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

The Nats signed Anibal Sanchez for two years. This deal doesn’t make a ton of sense at first glance, but consider the following:

Based on reports from The Washington Post (see below), Mike Rizzo deferred $6 million of Sanchez’s salary into 2021, meaning that the team has some more room with which they can work to sign a second baseman, another reliever, or even Bryce Harper. It’s financial flexibility, but at what cost? According to Jamal Collier, not a high one;

Then again: Sanchez could implode, Roark could win the Cy Young, and Rainey could never pitch the majors for the Nationals.

It’s all speculation, but there’s financial flexibility nonetheless.

Here’s the scoop from South Capitol:

Nationals agree to two-year deal with veteran starter Anibal Sanchez to bolster rotation (WaPo)
The Nats signed a replacement-level pitcher for Tanner Roark and will be slightly better positioned for this year's luxury tax, but next decade isn't looking too pretty.

Can Anibal Sanchez carry his 2018 success in Atlanta into D.C.? (The Athletic)
The Nationals have been continually impressed with Anibal Sanchez, from the scouting department to the manager's podium — but there's still a question as to if he'll be an improvement over Tanner Roark, or if 2018 was just a fluke.

Nationals roll dice, will sign Anibal Sanchez after Tanner Roark’s departure (NBCSW)
Sanchez dropped his fastball use to 38% of the time last season (similar to Patrick Corbin), and it paid off — and now the Nats have $18 million over two years, barely any less than they would have paid Tanner Roark, riding on a continuation of an improvement trend in an age-35 season.

Nationals to sign Anibal Sanchez (
Sanchez pitched to a 5.67 ERA from 2015-17, but killed the Nats as he pitched to a sub-3.00 ERA with the Braves last year — and the Nats are betting on a repeat.

Cardinals, Nationals and Rockies highlight busy day in MLB (Yahoo!)
The Cardinals added Andrew Miller. The Rockies got Daniel Murphy. The Nats signed Anibal Sanchez. Now, the question: which team is most likely to make the playoffs — the offense-heavy, bullpen depleted Cardinals, the revamped Nationals with more than a few question marks, or the back-to-back wild card Rockies?

Daniel Murphy, Rockies agree to 2-year, $24 million contract (Yahoo!)
Murphy will mostly play first base (though that's where Ian Desmond was supposed to play as well) and get the benefit of Coors Field, where he can hope for an improvement on last year.

Source: Sánchez gets two-year deal from Nats, plus 2021 option (MASN)
Sanchez could be a Nat until 2021, if his career doesn't implode before that point.

Will White Sox fans be able to deal with it if Bryce and Manny shun the South Side? (Chicago Trib)
“The Sox wound up with the lowest payroll at the end of the season, $82,889,649, so there is room to spend. That doesn’t mean it makes sense in Year 3 of a rebuild.”