Phillies targeting Anibal Sanchez for starting rotation

The Phillies are reportedly interested in veteran starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

After Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin, the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation is anything but certain for the 2021 season. Spencer Howard will get a strong look for the fourth spot, but beyond him, a replacement has yet to be named for now-free-agent Jake Arrieta.

The Phillies reportedly eyed longtime Marlins pitcher Jose Urena to fill the role, however he instead signed with the Detroit Tigers. Now, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, among the several options the Phillies are considering to upgrade their pitching staff includes a pitcher who once pitched for the Tigers — right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

“Think about the importance of relationships,” Morosi said. “Sanchez made his debut and threw a no-hitter for the then-Florida Marlins back in 2006 when Joe Girardi — the current Phillies manager — was managing the Marlins. Sanchez won the ERA title some number of years later in Detroit, when Dave Dombrowski — now the Phillies president of baseball operations — had the same title with the Tigers back in 2013.”

Sanchez, who will turn 37 next month, has pitched 15 seasons in the majors. This past season, he made 11 starts for the Washington Nationals, allowing a National League-most 39 earned runs over 53 innings en route to a 6.62 ERA. A year prior, the Venezuela native helped the Nationals to a World Series championship, including tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings in an NLCS start opposite the St. Louis Cardinals.

Morosi noted that if the Phillies were to sign Sanchez, he would be familiar with the National League East. Of the right-hander’s 350 career appearances, 199 were on the mound as a member of either the Florida and Miami Marlins (2006-12), Atlanta Braves (2018), and Nationals (2019-20).

“Sanchez, as we know, [is a] respected veteran player,” Morosi continued. “He didn’t have a great year in 2020, but he’s barely more than a year removed from pitching in the World Series for the victorious Nationals. So, he is one name to consider right now in Philadelphia.”