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 US, 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 20 1-3 innings over three post-season 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.
Kevin Youkilis, Yankees finalize deal
After spending 8 1/2 years in Boston and delivering a pair of World Series titles to the Fenway Park faithful, Kevin Youkilis was surprised when the New York Yankees expressed interest in fitting him for pinstripes.
"At first, it was kind of like, 'Wow!"' he said Friday after finalizing a $12 million, one-year contract with New York. "There's a lot of great Red Sox fans that just wanted the best for me going forward and I know there's going to be some that don't like the decision, and you can't worry about that."
"I reached out to Johnny [Damon]. He just said you're going to love the experience. It's a great place to play," —Kevin Youkilis on joining the Yankees
A three-time All-Star, Youkilis becomes the Yankees' starting third baseman for at least the first half of next season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery. A-Rod's operation is scheduled for next month.
"Obviously, he certainly cushions the blow of losing Alex," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "That's a difficult loss. When you have a healthy Alex Rodriguez, you have really one of the game's more productive players. But I couldn't think of anybody better to replace him in the short-term with as Kevin Youkilis."
Youkilis, traded from the Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox in June, joined Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon as Boston players who made the switch to the Bronx in the heated rivalry. He'll get an early look at his old club: The Red Sox are set to open at Yankee Stadium on April 1.
"I reached out to Johnny. He just said you're going to love the experience. It's a great place to play," Youkilis said.
But Damon also has felt the wrath of Red Sox fans.
"He's had a hard time in Boston. I saw him the other day. It's kind of upsetting to him, the fact that they've been pretty rough on him," Youkilis said.
He also plans to speak with Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain. The pair feuded in the past over tight fastballs.
"It's not a big deal to me," Youkilis said. "If it was that big of a deal, I wouldn't be signing with the Yankees."
If and when Rodriguez returns, Youkilis figures to see time at first base backing up Mark Teixeira. He also could get some games at designated hitter.
"And they told me I'm going to play shortstop, too," Youkilis said before quickly adding he had no intention of taking time away from Yankees captain Derek Jeter: "I'm just kidding. They're definitely not going to put me at short. If they put me at short, we're going to be in a lot of trouble."
To make room for Youkilis on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated left-hander Josh Spence for assignment.
Yankees, Ichiro close in on $13M deal
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 RBIs and 14 steals.
A 10-time All-Star, Suzuki has 2,606 hits in 12 major league seasons.
Ty Wigginton to sign 2-year deal with Cards
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 RBIs 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.
Xavier Nady signs minor league deal with Royals
Xavier Nady and the Kansas City Royals have agreed to a minor league contract.
The 34-year-old outfielder is a .270 career hitter with 101 home runs and 406 RBIs during 11 seasons in the majors. He has played for the Padres, Mets, Pirates, Yankees, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Nationals and Giants.
Nady spent last season with Washington and San Francisco, hitting a combined .184 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 152 at-bats. He played in 40 games with the Nationals and 19 for the World Series champion Giants.
His best season was 2008, when he batted .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs for the Pirates and Yankees.
The Royals announced the move Friday.