Buehrle will provide innings and on a good team will win more games than he loses. He seems to be an Ozzie Guillen guy and likes playing for him. Josh Johnson, recovering from his latest battle with the injury bug, will be great if he pitches a full season. If they get Juan Carlos Oviedo (the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez) back to be Bell's set-up man, the starters should win more games. Ricky Nolasco should be dependable and they should get some production out of Zambrano, hopefully with help from Guillen.
But, if things work out for the Marlins in 2012, their biggest starting pitching asset will be Anibal Sanchez. I predict Sanchez will have a huge season in 2012. MLB has taken some criticism lately over awarding Sanchez winning his arbitration hearing as he will be paid $8 million this year after making $3.7 million last season.
Sanchez had an 8-9 record last season, but it doesn't tell the whole story. He took the ball every fifth day on a team that dropped off the face of the earth in the second half of the season. In 196 1/3 IP, he pitched to a 3.67 ERA in 32 starts. He struck out 202 batters, a figure that should be exceeded or matched being he will be 28 next month. He is also a free agent after this season, so he has to be as motivated as ever to stand out in a free agent class that could have Matt Cain and Cole Hamels. If the Marlins are for real, Sanchez will be the one that wins 18-20 games, perhaps in the mold of Ian Kennedy last season. He will be up there for the Cy Young and should have more strikeouts than innings pitched. By the end of the season, Guillen will have to consider Sanchez as one of his top two pitchers. And finally, another team will overpay on a four to five year contract for his services off his one big year.
Will Sanchez be Carl Pavano? I think he has more talent, but he has had some injury problems in the past. I think if he has a big season, it will be due to the development of his stuff as opposed to lucking out. He has a tremendous arm and has been projected to be a big time pitcher. I think 2012 will be the start to the successful part of Anibal Sanchez' career. He will also benefit from going under the radar this year with the likes of Johnson, Buehrle and even Zambrano grabbing the Miami headlines in 2012. After this season is over, there will be no dispute over whether he should be paid $8 million this year. It will look like a bargain.