Red Sox Interested in Josh Johnson & Anibal Sanchez of the Marlins


The Red Sox need starting pitching and GM Ben Cherington has been given the green light from the owners to make a “bold” move at this year’s trade deadline.  Maybe we have one of those in the making.

Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston is reporting that the Red Sox are eyeing Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez, two right handers who belong to the Miami Marlins.

Ironically, Sanchez was a Red Sox prospect that was sent to the then known Florida Marlins back in 2005 in a deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. Sanchez was packaged with Hanley Ramirez and Harvey Garcia when two of the three were considered grade-A prospects.  Sanchez has since played in seven seasons in the majors, all with the Marlins with his best season coming in 2010 when he started in 32 games, going 13-12 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.344 WHIP.   He has a career strike out ratio of 7.7/9 and a walk ratio of 3.5BB/9.

Sanchez is set to become a free-agent at the end of the season making the acquisition a risky one if they were to see him walk at the end of the year.  Currently he’s earning $8MM this season and has struggled to a 5-7 record with a 3.94ERA and 1.256 WHIP.  He’s worked in 121.1 innings thus far and has reached the 196 inning plateau in the past two years, making 32 starts in both 2010 and 2011.

McDonald notes that Cherington was the club’s farm director at the time they signed Sanchez to an amateur free-agent in 2001 and it is noted the two had a great relationship at that time.

Johnson is the intriguing name of the two.  The former labelled “ace” of the Marlins has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his 8 year career.  The 28-year old has a career record of 53-30 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.244 WHIP.  His best year was also in 2010 when he made 28 starts, going 11-6 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.105 WHIP.  That year he worked in 183.2 innings while finishing fifth in the Cy Young voting and named to his second straight all-star game.

This season Johnson is 5-7 with an ERA of 4.35 and a WHIP of 1.399 with 7.6 SO/9 and 2.8 BB/9.  McDonald reports that over his last three starts, Johnson 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA.  However, during a stretch in May-June, Johnson allowed three runs or less in ten straight starts.

The catch with Johnson is his hefty contract that comes with him.  He’s on the hook to earn $13.75MM this year and next season before being free-agent eligible in 2014.

The Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings was on hand to scout the Red Sox last week, which started the rumors of Carl Crawford heading to Miami for Ramirez and Heath Bell.  That rumor was shot down as quickly as it got started.

The Marlins are under achieving from what their off season plans were, given the amount of money they spent this off season in an attempt to compete for the NL East this season.  The fish are in a similar situation to the Red Sox in that they could either become buyers or sellers in the next eight days.  A swap for a couple of major leaguers could be good for all involved.

Could a deal for these two pitchers be in the works that would see Josh Beckett or Jon Lester heading to Miami?  Maybe Beckett will be heading home so to speak. Maybe CC will be in the deal?  Oh the possibilities.  Stay tuned as we’ll keep you informed if this story picks up steam.