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Tigers invest $80 million in RHP Anibal Sanchez

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Tigers invest $80 million in RHP Anibal Sanchez

DETROIT (AP) Anibal Sanchez hadn't gone anywhere, really, and yet here he was getting a big ``welcome back'' from Detroit Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski.

``It's nice to have you back in that jersey again,'' Dombrowski said Monday to his right-hander.

It wasn't cheap.

Detroit's deal with Sanchez is worth $80 million over five years, a person familiar with it told The Associated Press last week on condition of anonymity because terms weren't announced. The team said it has an option for a sixth season.

That's the price of doing business in the free agent market for pitchers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers recently gave Zack Greinke a $147 million, six-year deal - the biggest for a right-hander in baseball history - and Detroit is satisfied with what it had to spend on Sanchez, perhaps the second-best pitcher on the market.

``He's in the prime of his career,'' Dombrowski said.

The 28-year-old Sanchez helped Detroit reach the World Series this year. He had a 1.77 ERA in 20 1-3 innings over three postseason starts, but was 1-2 because the Tigers were shut out in each of his losses.

``We almost get the ring,'' he said. ``Now, I know we got a pretty good team.''

Detroit has been good enough to get into the playoffs the last two years. The Tigers hope to improve enough to take the next step and win their first World Series since 1984 thanks to a couple major moves and a standout player's comeback.

They attempted to fill a void in the field and the lineup, just in front of sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, by signing outfielder Torii Hunter to a $26 million, two-year contract. They are expecting designated hitter Victor Martinez to be healthy at spring training in a couple months after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

And, Detroit kept its four-man rotation together by signing Sanchez.

As much as the Tigers are paying him, Sanchez had at least one team - other than the Chicago Cubs, the runner-up to signing him - offer him more at the winter meetings than he eventually got to stay in the Motor City.

``At the end, what do you do with a lot of money if it's not where you want to be?'' Sanchez asked.

Detroit acquired Sanchez in July from Miami along with second baseman Omar Infante for right-hander Jacob Turner and two minor leaguers. After a slow start with the Tigers, he pitched well in key games to help them win division titles in consecutive years for the first time since the 1935 and 1934 seasons with a 2.15 ERA over his last eight starts.

``Once he settled in and got a chance to get settled, he was one of the best pitchers in the league,'' Dombrowski said.

Sanchez is 48-51 with a 3.75 ERA since making his major league debut with the Marlins in 2006. He was 9-13 last year and 8-9 the previous year following a career-best, 13-win season in 2010.

While those numbers aren't impressive, the digits on his contract are because he's on the right side of supply-and-demand economics in baseball.

The Tigers didn't really want to offer Sanchez as long of a contract as he signed, but had to do so in order to keep him around.

``Pitching is a risky business,'' Dombrowski said. ``It's unfortunate, but that's just the way it is.''

What's also a reality is righty Rick Porcello might get traded any day because he could be deemed expendable with lefty Drew Smyly seemingly situated well to be the team's fifth starter.

Dombrowski said he's in trade talks with ``numerous'' clubs because they know the Tigers have six starters and are willing to deal one of them for the right price, perhaps a right-handed hitter to platoon with left-handed hitting outfielder Andy Dirks.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter:http://twitter.com/larrylage

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For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

For a January game, Wizards vs. Pistons has plenty of playoff implications

Winners of six of their last nine games, the Washington Wizards have breathed new life into their season, now with revitalized hopes of making the playoffs. On Monday, they will get a shot at one of the teams standing in their way.

With a 2 p.m. tip-off on NBC Sports Washington, the Wizards host the Detroit Pistons in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee. The Wizards are 10th in the Eastern Conference and the Pistons are ninth.

With a win over the Pistons, the Wizards would move into a tie for ninth, just one spot out of the playoff picture. Though more than two months remain in the regular season, the Wizards can gain some valuable ground.

Whether that is on their mind going into the match-up depends on whom you ask.

"It's definitely too early to talk about it," head coach Scott Brooks said.

"I think there are some very important games [coming up] where we go head-to-head against the guys who are around us in the standings," guard Tomas Satoransky said, singing a different tune.

Satoransky doesn't just see an opportunity against the Pistons on Monday, he mentioned Friday's game against the Magic as well. Orlando is one spot behind the Wizards in 11th.

The standings are one thing. Even more important for the big picture is head-to-head records, which determine tiebreakers for playoff seeding. The Wizards are 0-1 against the Pistons, having lost in Detroit on Dec. 26. 

A win on Monday would tie the season series with only one meeting left, on Feb. 11. If the Pistons win on Monday, they would lock up the tiebreaker.

The Wizards have reasons to be confident going into this meeting with the Pistons. While they are playing their best basketball of the season, Detroit has been in a tailspin. Going back to Dec. 3, they are 7-18. Only the Cavaliers have more losses during that stretch.

In those 25 games, the Pistons have been 28th in the NBA in offensive rating (103.6) and effective field goal percentage (49.6). They have committed the third-most turnovers per game (15.6).

Injuries haven't been the reason, but the Pistons have a few to report entering Monday's game. All-Star center Andre Drummond missed their last game on Saturday with a concussion and is considered day-to-day. Guard Ish Smith is also day-to-day after missing Saturday's game with a groin injury.

The Wizards have a chance to beat a reeling team and gain some control of their playoff hopes. We'll see if they take advantage.

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That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

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That time Antonio Brown and Kyler Murray practiced together

Thanks to Antonio Brown, we have the hopes and dreams of a splashy off-season for the Washington Redskins in one tidy four-second video.

Brown, the NFL’s best receiver, is angling for a trade out of Pittsburgh.

Kyler Murray is the reigning Heisman Trophy quarterback and a projected 2019 first round pick.

During the NFC Championship game, the Steelers wide receiver tweeted out a clip of him hauling in a deep pass from the University of Oklahoma product. Yes, that’s going to draw some eyeballs, perhaps especially from fans of a team with quarterback uncertainty and lacking offensive playmakers.

Another OU standout, wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown”, joined his cousin Antonio and Murray for the workout. This isn’t the first time all three shared a field.

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The best rolled thru today, appreciate you @ab 📞

A post shared by Kyler Murray (@kyler1murray) on

Marquise Brown, a true speed threat, could become the first wide receiver selected in the 2019 draft.

There’s no way for the Redskins to land all three. Even two seems highly unlikely considering the two prospects are projected first-round selections and acquiring Brown would cost a No. 1 and plenty more. It’s still cool to dream. Considering the quarterback concerns with Alex Smith, Jamison Crowder entering free agency and the need for more pieces regardless, even landing one of them would work.

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