- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- In the wake of the continued struggles of Jon Lester and, to a lesser degree, Josh Beckett, the Boston Red Sox have directed their attention on acquiring a starting pitcher before the July 31 trade deadline.
The Red Sox most recently have expressed interest in Florida Marlins pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson, according to a league source. Both are right-handed and both have 5-7 records with the Marlins this season.
Sanchez is interesting, given that the Red Sox originally signed him as an amateur free agent in 2001 and he developed in the organization, reaching Double-A before the Sox traded him to Florida, 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 win seven seasons with the Marlins, including a 3.75 ERA. 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 28-year-old Johnson has also scuffled (4.35 ERA), but had a stretch of 10 straight starts in May and June in which he gave up three earned runs or less. He is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA in his last three starts, however.
Johnson has a long track record of success with the Marlins (3.16 ERA over seven-plus seasons in the majors), but also comes with a hefty price tag. He is making $13.75 million this season and is under contract for that same amount next season.
The Red Sox also were eyeing Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza, but after the right-hander was removed from his last start on Saturday with an arm strain, their interest decreased because the Sox don’t want to take a gamble if he’s injured, the source said.