If the Marlins choose to sell, start with Anibal Sanchez

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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.

MLB rejected Players’ 114-game season proposal, will not send a counter

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter offer. The league said it has started talks with owners “about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.”

This should be understood as a game of chicken.

The background here is that the the owners are pretty much locked into the idea of paying players a prorated share of their regular salaries based on number of games played. The players, meanwhile, are pretty much locked in to the idea that the owners can set the length of the season that is played. Each side is trying to leverage their power in this regard.

The players proposed a probably unworkable number of games — 114 — as a means of setting the bidding high on a schedule that will work out well for them financially. Say, a settled agreement at about 80 games or so. The owners were rumored to be considering a counteroffer of a low number of games — say, 50 — as a means of still getting a significant pay cut from the players even if they’re being paid prorata. What Rosenthal is now reporting is that they won’t even counter with that.

Which is to say that the owners are trying to get the players to come off of their prorated salary rights under the threat of a very short schedule that would end up paying them very little. They won’t formally offer that short schedule, however, likely because (a) they believe that the threat of uncertain action is more formidable; and (b) they don’t want to be in the position of publicly demanding fewer baseball games, which doesn’t look very good to fans. They’d rather be in the position of saying “welp, the players wouldn’t talk to us about money so we have no choice, they forced us into 50 games.”

In other news, the NBA seems very close to getting its season resumed.