MLB Trade Rumors: Teams Who'll Aggressively Chase Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MAY 24:  Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Miami Marlins pitches during a game against the San Francisco Giants at Marlins Park on May 24, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It is safe to say that the 2012 season has not gone how the Marlins hoped after they spent big in the offseason in hopes of ushering in their new stadium with a postseason run.

The additions of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano and Heath Bell have not been enough to push the team over the top, as they entered play on Thursday with a 44-47 record, 10 games behind the Nationals in the NL East and seven games out of the second wild-card spot.

On Tuesday, the team announced that if they do not get hot in the next week or so, they could decide to become sellers, at which time they would be willing to listen to offers for anyone on the team according to Buster Olney.

The first name that pops to mind when hearing that is Giancarlo Stanton, as there is not a team in baseball who would not like to add the 22-year-old slugger.

However, two more likely names to be moved are starters Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez, according to a tweet from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Here is a quick look at both pitchers:


Josh Johnson

Johnson has battled injuries throughout his career, but showed what he was capable of when healthy in 2010, going 11-6 with a 2.30 ERA in 28 starts to win the NL ERA title and finish fifth in Cy Young voting.

He was limited to just nine starts last season, but has been healthy this year going 5-7 with a 4.35 ERA over 19 starts. Those numbers are skewed a bit by one horrible start, as he has gone 5-4 with a 3.50 ERA over his last 13 starts.

He is signed through next season, where he will earn $13.75 million, so he has the appeal of someone under team control; but the Marlins asking price will no doubt be high for the 28-year-old.


Anibal Sanchez

Sanchez was acquired in the Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell deal back in the 2005 offseason, and immediately stepped into the rotation with a 10-3, 2.83 ERA, 72 Ks line that netted him a ninth place finish in NL Rookie of the Year.

After struggling with injuries and starting a total of just 32 games from 2007-2009, Sanchez has settled in as one of the NL's better starters the past two seasons, going 21-21 with a 3.61 ERA and a 8.3 K/9 over that span.

He's set to hit free agency at season's end, and is as likely as anyone on the Marlins' roster to be moved at the deadline.


Who Could Be Interested?

The trade market is by no means thin on starting pitching this year, with Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke headlining a group that also includes Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Wandy Rodriguez, James Shields, Francisco Liriano, Jason Vargas, Bartolo Colon and Kevin Millwood as veteran starters who could potentially be on the move.

However, of that group, only Rodriguez, Garza and Shields are signed or under team control beyond this season, which makes Johnson an intriguing option for a team looking for something beyond a rental player.

The Blue Jays are specifically interested in starters controllable beyond this year, according to a tweet from Fox Sports' Jon Morosi.

The Orioles are also a team that is building for the future as they have kicked the tires on Rodriguez and look to bolster their rotation moving forward.

Beyond those two teams, everything depends greatly on the Marlins' asking price, and considering they still have a roster that is built to win now and a payroll that reflects it, they may be hesitant to move Johnson as they look to once again to make a run at the postseason next year.

Sanchez, on the other hand, could be a more appealing option to teams as he is due roughly $4 million for the remainder of the season before hitting free agency.

Nightengale tweeted that the Braves have shown interest in Sanchez, as they look to fill out a rotation that has been hurt by injury (Brandon Beachy) and ineffectiveness (Mike Minor and Randall Delgado).

Add to them the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Cardinals, Dodgers, Rangers and Tigers as contending teams who are in the market for a starting pitcher and could theoretically have interest in the 28-year-old right-hander.

The deadline is just 12 days away, and so far it has been an unusually slow year for deals, but there is still plenty of time for things to heat up. Time will tell just how far the Marlins go in the direction of sellers, but they certainly have a pair of intriguing trade chips in Johnson and Sanchez.