Almost exactly one year ago, Gaby Sanchez was considered The Best Marlin.
Or so one might think, because Sanchez was the only Marlin on the National League's 2011 All-Star team. Sure, maybe that was because of a roster issue; most of us probably would have voted for Giancarlo Stanton (as he is now known). But by the All-Star break last year, Sanchez owned a 293/374/472 line, with 46 runs and 50 RBI. Coming off a solid rookie campaign, Sanchez seemed to be peaking, a year ago.
Except maybe he'd already peaked, and was plummeting down the opposite slope.
Sanchez hit poorly after the All-Star Game, and hit more poorly this season. His batting line since getting an at-bat in the 2011 All-Star Game?
That's over 529 plate appearances, a not-inconsiderable number for a 28-year-old major leaguer. Actually, there would be more plate appearances, except he spent three weeks in the minors this spring. While there, he dominated triple-A pitchers. Or drew a bunch of walks against them, anyway.
Well, now he's getting another chance to draw walks in the Pacific Coast League (with a team that plays on the Atlantic coast, but whatever). Because just a year after Sanchez played in the All-Star Game, he's been sent back to the minors. Here's Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen (via John C. Rodriguez):
"I don't think he should blame anybody," Guillen said. "He should blame himself. We gave Gaby a lot of opportunities. The reason they made this move is obvious. We didn't have that much production from him. With Carlos, we hope we get more production than this. People don't make moves just to make moves. ... You don't send people down, you don't trade people, you don't release people when they're playing good."
"Carlos" is, of course, Carlos Lee, who the Marlins just got from the Astros for a couple of non-elite prospects. Carlos Lee used to be a really good hitter. Now he's roughly league-average, which means he's worse than average for a first baseman, which means one guy who was an All-Star one year ago just got bumped for a below-average player.
Did anyone see this coming? I didn't. But maybe we should have paid more attention to Sanchez's second-half numbers last season.
On a happier note, we'll see Sanchez again someday, with someone. And he did go out with a bang, drilling a game-tying homer off John Axford in Wednesday's game against the Brewers, an eventual Marlins victory.