Aceless Red Sox Back off Matt Garza: Turn Attention to Marlins Johnson, Sanchez

Blaise Collins@@blaise_collinsContributor IJuly 23, 2012

Could the Red Sox be on the verge of finding a legitimate ace?
Could the Red Sox be on the verge of finding a legitimate ace?Brian Kersey/Getty Images

With Jon Lester fresh off his worst performance since probably little league (4 IP / 9 H / 11 ER / 5 BB / 4 HR vs. Blue Jays on Sunday), and Josh Beckett still reportedly having to pitch the 1st inning when he starts (10.69 ERA in 1st IP this season), it seems the Red Sox will have to look elsewhere for an anchor on this staff.

Matt Garza has been on the Red Sox radar for weeks, if not months now. But according to sources, the Red Sox have backed away from negotiations for Matt Garza due to questions regarding his health.

With the search for a new ace apparently hitting a new gear as we sprint towards the trade deadline, the Red Sox have turned their attention to Miami. Particularly on right-handers Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez.

Both are 5-7 this season and scuffling as of late.

Johnson has shown as recently as last year that he has the make-up of an ace. He is currently saddled with an uncharacteristic 4.35 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, but last season between May and June he had a stretch of 10 starts in a row of giving up three earned runs or less.

Johnson is signed through 2013 at four yrs/$39M.

Sanchez is a former Red Sox farm hand and was sent to Miami in the blockbuster deal that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Fenway.

He impressed immediately by throwing a no-hitter his first season with the Marlins in 2006. His ERA (3.94) and WHIP (1.25) are slightly better than Johnson, and they are the same age (28).

Sanchez could be a rent-a-player with his contract up at the end of this season. He is making $8 million this season.