The Miami Marlins currently display three arguably dominant arms in their rotation with another on the way at some point in the near future. With four arms set in stone for a team with playoff aspirations in 2021, the fifth spot becomes a very big and important talking point.
There are numerous options for that fifth spot in the Miami Marlins rotation, many of which we have already seen so far this season. Bullpen games, spot starts for debuting pitchers, and more. There is however one option the Marlins and GM Kim Ng should at least consider doing, bringing back veteran RHP Anibal Sanchez.
Sanchez, still currently a free agent, has been throwing at workouts for MLB clubs ever since the season began, with reports back in late April that the Marlins were one of the teams interested. With reports that Sanchez threw a 100-pitch bullpen session recently, the 37-year old appears ready to go. If Miami has expressed previous interest, why not consider signing the veteran right-hander?
Sanchez is already a familiar name and sight for Marlins fans. Spending the first 7 years of his career with the Marlins, Sanchez had a 3.75 ERA combined during that span, and was a consistently reliable starter every five days making 132 starts with the organization.
Sanchez was traded to the Tigers in 2012, where he would pitch some of the best of his career early on. While his time in Detroit may be remembered for how it ended posting a 5+ ERA in his last three seasons, his 2013 season was special. Leading all of baseball with a 2.57 ERA in 2013, Sanchez was actually one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball early on during his time with the Tigers.
After a rough end to his time in Detroit, Sanchez was signed by the Braves to a 1-year, $1 million deal in 2018 where he arguably revived his career. Sanchez was excellent for the Braves posting a 2.83 ERA in 24 starts helping stabilize an Atlanta rotation to lead them to the NLDS.
Recently spending the last two seasons with the Nationals, Sanchez was solid during the 2019 World Series winning season, but struggled in 2020 posting a 6.62 ERA in 11 starts.
Sanchez has certainly had some ups and downs during his 15-year career. While he wouldn’t be the “ace” for the Marlins in 2021, signing the veteran pitcher would be very beneficial for Miami in 2021. If you truly think about it, it makes sense to bring Sanchez back to where it all started in the big leagues.
The Miami Marlins signing Anibal Sanchez would give them options.
Think about it, Miami has three dominant starters already in the rotation with top-prospect Sixto Sanchez set to return sometime in the near future. We’ve already seen this season with that fifth spot in the rotation that the Marlins are using multiple options including bullpen games, debut call-ups, and more.
Why not sign Sanchez to a 1-year deal to be the #5 starter? Think about it.
Look at what the Braves signed him to in 2018, 1-year for $1 million coming off a down year. That deal payed dividends for a playoff-bound Atlanta team in 2018. If Sanchez can consistently take the mound every five days, and pitches similar for a Marlins team with playoff aspirations, that is 100% a win-win situation.
He is not necessarily going to be the best pitcher in the game, or maybe not even the best pitcher on the staff. To be completely honest, he won’t be. What he will be however is a consistent and reliable starter that every time he takes the mound, you know what you are going to get.
Now I know what you’re thinking, what about Elieser Hernandez? Shouldn’t he be the Marlins fifth starter? Maybe.
However, if you sign Sanchez to use him as a fifth starter, you could put Hernandez in a long-relief/spot-starter role where he has experience pitching and would allow him to excel. If you want to reserve the two as well, Sanchez is also capable of a long-relief/spot-starter role as well.
This would also allow Miami more time to develop their top prospects. Sure Edward Cabrera or Braxton Garrett would be prime options to fill the fifth spot alongside Hernandez in the rotation, but signing Sanchez would allow the Marlins more time to not rush their top young arms.
Also, if the Marlins truly have playoff aspirations once again in 2021, who is the best option to have in your rotation or bullpen come October? Top prospects or fairly unproven arms at the major league level, or a 15-year veteran with a career 2.93 ERA across 11 postseason appearances?
We’ve seen how the Marlins have used the fifth spot in the rotation so far this season, and while they could just wait for players to get healthy or prospects to develop, the option that arguably makes the most sense is signing Sanchez to a 1-year deal. If Sanchez truly is ready to go, the Miami Marlins should at least consider a reunion to help solidify the back-end of their rotation.