ARLINGTON, Texas — In the wake of the continued struggles of Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, the Boston Red Sox have directed their attention toward acquiring a starting pitcher before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
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Lester has a career-worst 5.46 ERA this season and is coming off his worst career outing Sunday (11 earned runs in four innings), while Beckett has a 4.53 ERA. More significantly, the Red Sox are a combined 13-23 in games started by Lester and Beckett, thought before the season to be the cornerstones of the rotation.
The Red Sox have scored a major league-leading 479 runs this season but own a 48-48 record and are in last place in the AL East, 9½ games behind the first-place New York Yankees. Boston’s starting pitchers have posted a 4.84 ERA this season, the third-worst mark in the AL.
Johnson and Sanchez, both right-handers, each have 5-7 records with the Marlins this season. The 28-year-old Johnson has also scuffled (4.35 ERA), but had a stretch of 10 straight starts in May and June during which he gave up three earned runs or fewer. The two-time All-Star is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA in his past three starts, however.
Johnson has a long track record of success with the Marlins (3.16 ERA over seven-plus seasons) but also comes with a hefty price tag. He is making $13.75 million this season and is under contract for that same amount in 2013.
Sanchez is interesting given that the Red Sox originally signed him as an amateur free agent in 2001. He developed in the organization and reached Double-A before Boston traded him to the Marlins, along with Hanley Ramirez and Harvey Garcia, in exchange for Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota in November 2005.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was the organization’s farm director at the time and had a good relationship with Sanchez.
Sanchez, 28, has a career 44-45 record and a 3.75 ERA in seven seasons with the Marlins. He has a 3.94 ERA this season, but that number is deceiving. His ERA is actually much higher — 5.63 — since June. He is making $8 million and will be a free agent at the end of the season.
The Red Sox also were eying Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza. But Boston’s interest has decreased since the right-hander was removed from his start on Saturday with an arm strain, because the Red Sox don’t want to take a gamble if Garza is injured, the source said.
Source: Boston eyes Marlins Johnson, Sanchez
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