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If the Marlins choose to sell, start with Anibal Sanchez

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Florida Marlins

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JUNE 20: Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Florida Marlins pitches during a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Sun Life Stadium on June 20, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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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.