WASHINGTON (AP) — The Nationals looked to boost their rotation even further with the signing of former Atlanta Brave & Detroit Tiger, Anibal Sanchez.

The Nationals agreed to terms on a two-year, $19 million contract with right-hander Sanchez on Thursday, which includes a team option for 2021.

Sanchez, 34, will add depth to Washington’s new-look rotation after boosting his appeal with a comeback season for NL East rival Atlanta. The Nationals signed Patrick Corbin to a six-year deal earlier this month.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 05: Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Atlanta Braves delivers the pitch during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 5, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Sanchez said the two-year deal was important at his age.

He said another factor was maintaining his relationship with catcher Kurt Suzuki, who he said was important to his success with the Braves in 2018. Suzuki signed a two-year, $10 million deal with Washington last month.

ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 07: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is tagged out at home plate by Kurt Suzuki #24 of the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning during Game Three of the National League Division Series at SunTrust Park on October 7, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“That’s a big thing for me, especially because the way I pitch in 2018, Suzuki was involved in every change I made,” Sanchez said in a conference call with reporters. “Every sequence that we work for, Suzuki was very involved. … I know the pitches he calls for. We’ve got a really good relationship between pitcher and catcher in the game.”

Sanchez, a native of Maracay, Venezuela, was perhaps the Braves’ most consistent starter as he posted a 2.83 ERA in 25 games, including 24 starts. He was 7-6 and had 135 strikeouts in 136 2/3 innings. It was a remarkable turnaround after Sanchez struggled in 2017 with a 6.41 ERA with Detroit.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 12: Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the first inning at AT&T Park on September 12, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The 2018 ERA was the second-best of his career, behind his 2.57 mark in 2013 with Detroit, and sixth-lowest among NL pitchers with at least 24 starts.

The Nationals traded Tanner Roark to the Reds this offseason, leaving Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Corbin and Sanchez as their projected top four starters.

Sanchez joins a longtime familiar opponent. He began his career in the NL East with the Marlins in 2006. He helped the Braves win the NL East in 2018, but he said the Nationals “have always been on the top of the division.”

© 2018 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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