Might the Marlins make Anibal Sanchez available?


Yeah, but he walked six. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

The normally frugal Marlins have gone on a relative spending spree this winter. It started when they signed John Buck to a three-year, $18 million contract and continued through yesterday, when they signed Ricky Nolasco to a three-year, $26.5 million extension. In the middle they also signed Javier Vazquez to a $7 million one-year deal and Randy Choate to a two-year, $2.5 million deal. Those deals bring Florida’s payroll to over $40 million in 2011. Arbitration raises and reserve clause obligations should bring it to near $50 million, which means the Marlins will increase payroll for the third straight season.

That appears very un-Marlins-like. The team has been one of the stingiest in the majors for the past half-decade. A move to a new Stadium could open up new lines of revenue, so maybe the Marlins will maintain their current payroll level for now and in the future. Or maybe they’ll look to sell off one or two of their more expensive pieces in exchange for cost-controlled talent. Looking through their payroll forecast, one name stands out as someone who might interest the Yankees. Anibal Sanchez, coming off the best, and healthiest, season of his career, is due a decent raise over the $1.25 million he earned in 2010. If the Marlins are listening, the Yanks should do a little trade talking.

Sanchez, you might remember, went to Florida in the Josh Beckett trade. After a slow start to his career he had gained plenty of value by that point, having dominated advanced-A ball before putting on a fine showing at AA as a 21-year-old. He arrived in Florida during the winter of 2005-2006 as the Marlins No. 3 prospect, and as baseball’s No. 40 overall. In 2006 he opened the season in AA, but pitched so well there that he earned a call-up to the bigs. His first 114.1 major league innings went about as well as possible, as Sanchez overcame iffy peripherals to produce a 2.83 ERA — including one no-hitter.

Sanchez’s strong 2006 season came with one drawback: it was the second straight year in which he drastically increased his workload. In 2005 he threw 136 innings after throwing 76.1 in 2004. Then in 2006 he threw 200 on the nose. After just six starts in 2007 Sanchez hit the DL with a shoulder injury that would eventually require surgery to repair the labrum. That kept him out of the majors until July 31, 2008. He again made six starts in 2009 before succumbing to a shoulder injury, which kept him out until June. After just three innings of work he hit the DL again, this time the 60-day variety. It was, for the third time, a shoulder issue.

Things have gone well for Sanchez since that last injury. He came back in late August of 2009 and threw 50.1 innings to a 2.68 ERA the rest of the way. But it was in 2010 that everything seemed to come together. While Sanchez produced quality results in 2006 and 2009, his peripherals were considerably worse than the performance. In 2010 Sanchez pitched 195 innings to a 3.55 ERA, but more importantly his FIP, 3.32, and xFIP, 4.21, were both career lows. Even his tERA was a nice, low 3.32. Injuries might have hampered his progress, but it appears as though Sanchez has overcome the obstacle and is now starting to fulfill his promise.

If the Yankees are to inquire about Sanchez, they need to first ponder two questions. First, how big an injury risk does he represent in the future? Second, how have his previous injuries affected him already? The first one is pure speculation, and requires someone with actual medical expertise. Even then, it’s merely informed speculation rather than a blind guess. To the second, though, we can see some signs in Sanchez’s 2010 numbers that might give us an indication. For instance, his velocity, according to both PitchFX and Baseball Info Solutions, is right where it has always been — and in fact might have been a bit faster in 2010. That’s an encouraging sign for a player who has undergone labrum surgery and who has suffered a subsequent shoulder injury.

If the Marlins are open to trading Sanchez, I imagine they’d settle for nothing less than taking the Yanks to the cleaners. They have a fairly strong team in 2011 and could contend for the wild card, so to trade their No. 2 starter would deal a serious blow to those hopes. Still, we have a good idea of how the Marlins operate, and the right package of young players could tempt them. I imagine they’d ask for Montero, but the Yanks won’t go there. A package that included Manny Banuelos, Brandon Laird, and Austin Romine might get the conversation started, but certainly won’t finish it. For all we know, the Marlins might not settle for anything less than Montero — and at that point there’s simply no way this gets done.

The Yankees must explore every possible pitching option on the market, and I imagine that they will inquire on Sanchez. I also think that he’d be a good fit for the Yankees’ rotation. He induces a fair number of ground balls and strikes out hitters at a rate slightly above league average. His control was on display in 2010, and when healthy he’s shown an ability to limit home runs on fly balls. He will get a bit expensive in the next few years, he has a considerable injury history, and he’s set to hit free agency after the 2012 season, which are all reasons that Florida would consider trading him. But I don’t think they’ll do it on the cheap. They could hold onto him and trade him in July for a similar return — which is exactly why Brian Cashman has preached patience so far this off-season.

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. Mark L says:

    Was thinking about this earlier — Sanchez and Volstad seem like the most likely trade candidates and, looking at their depth chart, I imagine the Marlins would ask for Gardner in any deal. At that price, I’m not sure I’d make the deal but for Anibal I’d certainly consider trading Betances or Brackman.

  2. A.D. says:

    Anibal a better target than Carmona? Annibal will be a bit cheaper, both have injury concern, Carmona can be retained for longer. Given that, and that Carmona might be cheaper prospect wise, I’d prefer Carmona (assuming both are available).

  3. Dr. Yes says:

    No way in the world should the Yanks give up anything of great value for a guy like Sanchez. He’s really still “all potential.” He’s had one good ML season and years of physical issues. Giving up a top pithcing prospect for him would be just plain goofy.
    For Nova/Warren, sure. For B, B, or B…..NO.

    I’ll keep harping on it until it’s dead: The best available pitcher, given everything, is Wandy Rodriguez.
    Not quite 32 years old. Lefty. Very solid numbers for several years running. Is healthy and durable. If he were to pitch for the Yankees over the next three years like he’s pitched for the Astros over the last three years, he’d win 50 games.
    Sanchez, on the other hand, hasn’t even pitched for three years in a row without being disabled for big chunks of time.

    • RL says:

      I’m with you on this, based on all currently available info.

    • A.D. says:

      Agreed, I think Sanchez is interesting if it doesn’t take top prospects (i.e. Montero or Bs) since he’s far from a sure thing nor a real stud when healthy and contract is going to escalate.

    • Mike says:

      I agree Wandy is the best option out there !

      • RL says:

        Since we all agree, Cashman should pull the trigger! Get it done, Cash!! :-)

      • Smallz_LOS says:

        I really think your giving up way too much with ManBan Laird and Romine. That and we need a lefty. I am 100% sold on Wandy Rodriguez, if I was Cashman I’d be putting together every package I could to get Rodriguez and Keppinger in a deal, possibly Lindstrom too with his bad contract. Take some pressure off Joba and Robertson

    • OXXBOW says:

      I agree. Cashman should trade for Wandy Rodriguez. He has consistently good stuff and would do well in Yankee Satadium. Could average 15-16 wins a year.

  4. Steve H says:

    I’d consider a package headlined by Betances or Brackman, but not Manny.

  5. kosmo says:

    Sanchez isnĀ“t worth the risk especially when names like Banuelos or Betances are mentioned.

  6. Jorge says:

    Attractive, but certainly not worth the cost mentioned above.

    This is where I make a lousy GM. I’d fill their infield for the next three years with Laird and Adams and give them an Adam Warren to replace Sanchez. If they want more, then have fun filling the ghost of the Orange Bowl.

  7. Johnny O says:

    I didn’t realize Sanchez’s numbers were that good? I’m intrigued.

    Also, I feel as though people are drastically overvaluing Yankees prospects. Dellin Betances? Seriously??? You can’t say Anibal is all potential but not want to give up a guy who has thrown >300 innings in minor league ball, including only 14.1 above A+. Montero, fine. Banuelos, sure. We should be willing to trade at least 2 of our top 10 prospects plus 1 or 2 in the 10-20 range for Anibal.

    I keep thinking back to the Denny Neagle trade where we gave up THREE!!! BA top 100 prospects for Denny. And guess what? NONE of them turned out to be quality major leaguers. We all like our prospects, but let’s remember the likelihood of them turning into studs is really really really slim. In fact, most of them exist for the Yankees as pure trade bait (where does Brandon Laird fit in exactly?)

    • RL says:

      That assumes Sanchez is the best available option. Since there are other options available that would at least fill the void until the Yankees can better understand the ML potential of it’s top prospects, I say they should look elsewhere.

      • Johnny O says:

        For the BEST options, you trade Jesus and ManBan and 2 or three others. King Felix, JJ, Wainwright, etc.

        What other options are out there? Signing Freddy Garcia or Brandon Webb or Justin Duchscherer on Rich Harden-type deals isn’t really a true option. The only starter openly on the block was Grienke. If you prefer to trade for Wandy, that’s fine. But declaring that guys who have barely touched AA are “untouchable” for “unproven” guys like Anibal Sanchez has gotten a bit ridiculous. You trade prospects for guys with legit ML track records at positions of need. The Trenton Thunder Eastern League Championship is nice, but not of a concern to me.

        • RL says:

          The best option may not be the best pitcher. It’s the best option based on current AND future needs. If the Yankees feel the B’s will all be mid-level or higher pitchers, don’t get rid of them and find someone that can help carry you over till they’re ready.

    • Kiersten says:

      I’d be ok giving up Betances cause of his injury history, but not Banuelos or Montero. Something like Betances/Romine/Laird would be ok, but still doesn’t thrill me for a good, not great, guy in the NL.

  8. Jonathan says:

    I may be in the minority but i’m not touching Sanchez with his injury problems and limited track record. Sure he’s talented, but if we’re willing to give the types of prospects you’re talking about, we should be targeting much better options. You could easily give up ManBan, Romine, Laird and have his shoulder become another issue. You’d think if you were giving up guys like that for someone with EXTENSIVE shoulder (obviously the worst kind) issues that he would at least have a higher ceiling than Sanchez. You talk about all the problems he had with innings jumps…well he jumped 109 IP last year. And none of that even touches on the NL-AL thing.

  9. Chris in Maine says:

    The picture above has the cutesy “but he walked six.” Didn’t AJ walk 9 in his no hitter?

    • Slugger27 says:

      yes, and most if not everyone makes fun of that no-hitter, too.

      including aj himself

    • CountZero says:

      Yep — and Nolan Ryan walked 8 on his third one in 1974 — the final BB coming with two out in the 9th.

      Of course he also had 15 Ks…guys in the field must have been the most bored players ever to participate in a no-no. 35 batters faced and 23 of them didn’t put the ball in play. :D

  10. theyankeewarrior says:

    This is just one more example of the guys who are out there that no one is talking about. Cash has his work cut out for him this year. “Director of spending” now refers to spending prospects.

    Here’s his theme song:

    50 Cent “Patiently Waiting” REMIX featuring Brian Cashman

    Hey Cash… you know your my favorite white-boy, right?…. I, I owe ya for this one…

    I’ve been patiently waiting for a trade to explode on (yea)
    You can hate if you want and yo ass’ll get rolled on (It’s Cashman)
    It feels like my moves been hot for so long (yea)
    If you think the Yanks are gonna fall off your so wrong

  11. ChrisS says:

    The more I think about it, the more I think Montero will be doing his hitting elsewhere. Probably mid-season. There’s really no position for him if he can’t catch at the ML level. I’m on the fence as to whether he can or not, but if I see a few games with him looking like Marcus Thames in LF, it’s going to be tough to swallow. Combined with Gary Sanchez possibly burning up the depth charts, it could make for an opportune time to move Montero.

    But if Montero sticks behind the dish and Sanchez looks like an 18yo in A, then well, it’ll be different. But all that conjecture and a $1.99 will buy you a medium coffee.

  12. Kiersten says:

    Meh, not worth the probable cost.

    • Slugger27 says:

      if seemingly every single trade made in this entire offseason didnt leave me saying “really? thats all they got?”, i’d agree with u… but its become pretty clear the tired, watered-down jokes about lame trade proposals on here may not be nearly as off-base as once thought

      • Big Juan says:

        However, I think there have been instances where the price for the Yankees would have been higher.

        I think the Greinke trade is an example. Montero, Nunez + 2 pitchers (1 Killer B) > Cain, Escobar, Odorizzi, Jeffress. Just my opinion obviously. Mainly because Montero is a stud and no one in the Brewers package really is.

        • Mike HC says:

          Teams, and players, also ask for more, and expect more from the Yankees. It is second nature at this point.

        • A.D. says:

          The other factor is what more could they really ask for from the Brewers? Matt Gamel? Kentrail Davis? The Yanks have a better crop of top prospects than most teams, so they’re going to be asked for them

          • Big Juan says:

            Maybe they could have asked for some big league talent. McGehee?

            • JAG says:

              Or they could trade with someone else. One of your potential trading partners lacking the needed prospects doesn’t mean you should lower your standards to compensate.

              Nowhere is it written that the Brewers HAD to be Greinke’s destination. The Royals got what they got at least in part because that’s what they wanted.

  13. wright1969 says:


  14. Granderslam says:

    In reality, doesn’t many of the Yankees pitching prospects project a ceiling comparable to Sanchez? That is why, if we need pitching now, it is worth it.

  15. AJ says:

    Manny Banuelos, Brandon Laird, and Austin Romine for Anibal Sanchez? I like Anibal for the Yankees but that’s a monstrous package to “start” with.

  16. mustang says:

    At this point anything that’s out there is not worth the B’s or Montero so if they can get something done for Sanchez without them I’m in.

    I’m starting to like Wandy Rodriguez more and more each day.

  17. Hughesus Christo says:

    Trading any part of The Core Four(tm) for 4th starters would be stupid.

    No Jesus
    No Manban
    No Brack
    No Dellin

  18. Dr. Yes says:

    Joba+Romine+Laird for Rodriguez+Keppinger.

  19. Basil F. says:

    In the 2006 draft of Joba & IPK the best prospect of all is probably Betances. He was reported saying before the draft that he wouldn’t go pro unless the Yanks drafted him, which they did in the 8th round. With his ace potential and his NY/Brooklyn roots, I think it would be the ultimate betrayal to trade this young man to another team. I say keep him around for both of those reasons.

    • Dr. Yes says:

      It’s also worth noting how much this kid improved in 2010 in terms of his mechanics and how hard he worked to rehab.
      Dellin Betances is going to be a major league pitcher. With his size and stuff, he’s going to be a good one. I want to see him do it with the Yankees.

  20. MikeD says:

    MLB basically put a gun to the Marlins’ organizational head last year and told them to spend more money. CBA negotiation is upcoming, and they need to build their case to rape the Yankees of more money. Having the Marlins not spend money (remember, they were going to trade Josh Johnson last year, too, befor MLB stepped in) while showing a profit is bad news.

    And, no, I’m kidding.

  21. nycsportzfan says:

    am i reading this article right???lol Did i see Banuelos, Romine and another prospect for A.Sanchez? What? You’d have to be the biggest Tool in all of sports to even think of giving up that for anibal Maybe, and i say, Maybe, u part with a package of Nova, Phelps and Brandon Laird.. I don’t even know if u do that, for a injury prone guy like sanchez who isn’t exactly the scariest pitcher to face in the world… Silly, silly and more silly!

  22. James says:

    Keep away from NL pitchers at all costs. Have we learned NOTHING?

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