While we’ve heard reports today that the Marlins may soon move their closer, Leo Nunez, there’s no fire sale in store for Florida this summer, not with the new ballpark opening next April.
Still, there’s something to say for striking while the iron is hot, and it’s never likely to be hotter for Anibal Sanchez. Despite struggling in his final two starts before the break, Sanchez is 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA this season. Capable of overmatching lineups when he’s on, he took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Rockies in April and into the seventh against the Nationals in May.
Sanchez, though, has a long history of injury. From 2007-09, he made just 32 starts in three seasons because of shoulder problems. He’s been healthy the last year and a half, but he’s struggled to bounce back on normal rest this season. On four days’ rest, he has a 4.57 ERA in 11 starts. On five or more days’ rest, he has a 2.01 ERA in six starts.
My feeling is that Sanchez is going to be a terrible risk on a long-term deal, and while he may well be able to help the Marlins contend next year in his final season before free agency, he’d be better utilized as trade bait. The Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers and Rockies are among the teams likely to have interest if he’s made available.
For what it’s worth, the Sun-Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez doesn’t think Sanchez will be traded. Still, if it’d bring two top prospects in return, the Marlins should make the move.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.