MIAMI -- Anibal Sanchez picked up his first victory of the season on Monday without actually throwing a pitch.
An arbitration panel ruled in Sanchez's favor, meaning the right-hander will earn $8 million this year. Sanchez's salary represents the largest ever for a starting pitcher who went to a hearing.
"Historic win for the players going forward," Sanchez's agent, Gene Mato, noted via Twitter.
Sanchez went to the hearing on Friday asking for $8 million, while the Marlins' offer was $6.9 million. Both sides presented their cases on Friday to the arbitration panel in St. Petersburg. Arbitrators Elizabeth Neumeier, James Oldham and Gil Vernon revealed their decision on Monday.
Sanchez, who made $3.7 million in 2011, set career highs for innings pitched (196 1/3) and strikeouts (202). His 32 starts matched a career high, previously posted in 2010. Sanchez is eligible to become a free agent in 2013. At this point, Miami has no intention of signing the right-hander to a multiyear contract.
Team president David Samson spoke with reporters last Thursday when the team set the first strips of sod at Marlins Park. When the issue of Sanchez's status came up, Samson said the team is prepared to let the right-hander play the season out.
The Marlins were unable to come to contract terms with Sanchez and outfielder Emilio Bonifacio before the Jan. 17 deadline to exchange numbers. Bonifacio's hearing is set for Tuesday.
Technically, Miami could have signed Sanchez leading up to the start of Friday's hearings. But per team policy, the club cuts off negotiations after the exchange deadline.
Sanchez was one of the Marlins' most dependable and durable pitchers last year, when he went 8-9 with a 3.67 ERA. Sanchez was acquired from the Red Sox after the 2005 season as part of the blockbuster deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston, with Hanley Ramirez also moving to South Florida in the deal.
Sanchez has been part of the Marlins' rotation since 2006, and he has a 39-38 career record with a 3.72 ERA. As a rookie in 2006, Sanchez no-hit the D-backs on Sept. 6.
Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Carlos Zambrano are expected to round out the No. 3, 4 and 5 spots in Miami's rotation. Which order they are in will be determined by manager Ozzie Guillen. The team says Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle will fill the first two spots.
Bonifacio, meanwhile, is projected to be the club's Opening Day center fielder. At his hearing, he will be seeking $2.2 million, while the Marlins are countering at $1.95 million. A year ago, the speedster made $425,000.