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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 136

In part 136 of our 165 chapter series, we take a look at a pitcher and a third baseman.

Florida Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals

Throughout the 2020-21 offseason, we’re going over every player to appear in a regular season game for the Florida and Miami Marlins through their first 28 seasons of major league play.

The final 128 players in our series collected a minimum of 800 plate appearances and/or batters faced with the club. Players are ordered in ascending value of bWAR divided by PA/BF.

35. Aníbal Sánchez

Aníbal Sánchez is a six-foot right-handed native of Maracay, Venezuela. In 2001, he started his professional career by signing with the Boston Red Sox at the age of 16. After five seasons in their minor league system, they sent him to the Marlins with Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, and Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota. He made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2006.

Sánchez’ 2006 campaign was solid — enough so that he placed ninth in the National League Rookie of the Year vote. In 17 starts, he went 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA, a 1.190 WHIP, and 72 K’s in 114 13 innings. His best game of the season, without a doubt, was a 2-0 no hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 6. He struck out six and walked four, taking 103 pitches to turn the trick.

Injury took a toll on Sánchez’ next few seasons, limiting him to 32 starts over the next three seasons. In 2010, he went 13-12 with a full 32 start workload. In another 32 starts the following campaign, he set a career high with 202 strikeouts.

Sánchez ranks sixth on the all-time leaderboard for the Marlins with 132 starts and with 794 13 innings, and fifth with 676 strikeouts and 44 victories. He went 44-45 with a 3.75 ERA over seven seasons with the Marlins, posting a 1.352 overall WHIP.

His rookie campaign was his best overall season until 2013, when he finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award vote after leading the circuit with a 2.39 FIP and a 2.57 ERA. Now a 15-season major league veteran, Sánchez has a 112-113 overall record with a 4.05 ERA and 1,726 whiffs in 1948 13 frames. Currently a free agent, it’s likely he gets picked up at some point prior to Opening Day.

34. Mike Lowell

Mike Lowell is a six-foot-four right-handed hitting and batting third baseman from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1995, the New York Yankees took him in the 20th round of the draft out of Florida International University. Three years later, he went four-for-15 in his eight-game major league debut.

Just prior to 1999 Spring Training, the Bombers traded Lowell to the Marlins for minor leaguer Todd Noel, Mark Johnson, and Ed Yarnall. When it comes to trades, you win some and lose some. The Marlins won this one by a wide margin.

Soon after the trade, Lowell was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which caused him to miss the first two months of the season. After his return, he played seven seasons for the Marlins.

Lowell played in 981 games for the Marlins altogether, making him fourth on Florida/Miami’s all time appearance leaderboard. During his tenure, he hit .272/.339/.462, with a franchise-fourth 143 homers and a club-second 578 RBI.

Lowell made the National League All Star team three times with the Marlins, winning a Silver Slugger in 2003 and a Gold Glove in 2005. Defensively, Lowell was 27 runs better than an average third baseman over his seven years with the Marlins at the hot corner. During his Gold Glove season in particular was he a stalwart third baseman, as evidenced by his .983 fielding percentage in 2005. He only made six errors and was a dozen runs above “average.”

Lowell was one of very few to survive the post-2003 fire sale, but the Marlins traded him away following 2005 with Josh Beckett and Guillermo Mota to the Red Sox for Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, Hanley Ramirez, and Anibal Sanchez.

Lowell played five more seasons of major league ball, slashing .290/.346/.468 with another 80 jacks and 374 RBI for Boston. He made the American League All Star Team in 2007. After the 2010 season was in the books, they granted his free agency.