As the Red Sox await news on the fate of left-hander David Price, ESPN’s Buster Olney runs down the list of options for Boston in the event that Price is forced to sit out part of or all of the 2017 season (ESPN Insider subscription required and recommended). The Sox do still have five big league starters in the form of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright, though each has come with recent injury troubles. Beyond that, the team is lacking in quality depth options, though Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Roenis Elias and others are present in Pawtucket. Free agents such as Doug Fister, Colby Lewis and Jake Peavy are still on the market, and Jose Quintana, of course, looms on the trade market. Olney notes that the Red Sox would likely have to utilize top prospect Rafael Devers as the headliner in a theoretical Quintana deal, however.
Beyond that, the Sox could wait to see which of the Dodgers’ plethora of rotation options fails to secure a spot. Similar rotation crunches will arise organically around the league, so Boston could take a more patient approach and see which opportunities materialize as Opening Day draws nearer.
A few more notes pertaining to the game’s Eastern divisions…
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes that the Red Sox’ lack of depth has been obvious all winter and opines that the team took an unnecessary gamble by relying so internal options and not signing more depth. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski suggested to him, however, that Boston’s glut of quality big league arms made it difficult to lure depth options to sign with the Red Sox this winter. Boston couldn’t guarantee any free-agent starter a spot in its rotation and couldn’t even offer much hope of being the first line of defense against an injury. Silverman notes that trading Clay Buchholz in a salary dump could come back to haunt the Sox, but Dombrowski said that even in light of a potential Price injury, he doesn’t regret moving Buchholz when he did. “You’re not going to just hold on to somebody in case things take place later on,” he told Silverman, also adding that it’s difficult to move that much salary this time of year.
- The Nationals are trying to move Derek Norris but finding it difficult to drum up interest in the catcher at his current $4.2MM salary, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Castillo reports that the Angels, White Sox and Brewers are all wary of paying that type of money to a catcher that slashed just .186/.255/.328 last season. As FanRag’s Jon Heyman suggested yesterday, the Nats could ultimately just release Norris, as they’d only be on the hook for one-sixth of his salary (about $688K) due to the fact that arbitration salaries aren’t fully guaranteed prior to Opening Day. As for Norris himself, he acknowledged to Castillo that his D.C. days might be numbered but said he’s simply preparing to play the 2017 season somewhere. “It doesn’t change much for me other than the fact that it may or may not be the teammates I’ll be playing with,” said Norris. “So on my end it’s control what I can control. Go out there and play my games and get ready for a season.”
- Current indications are that right-hander Robert Gsellman is the leading candidate to occupy the fifth slot in the Mets’ rotation out of Spring Training, tweets the Record’s Matt Ehalt. A source also suggested to Ehalt that righty Zack Wheeler could very well open the year on the disabled list and head to extended Spring Training to continue to build up strength after missing the past two seasons while recovering from 2015 Tommy John surgery. If Gsellman is indeed in the rotation and Wheeler in XST, that’d leave either a long relief/spot starting role or a spot in the Triple-A rotation for Seth Lugo. One can imagine that the spring performances from here on out could still dictate which of Gsellman or Lugo ultimately claims that rotation gig, though. Both were impressive in the debut campaigns last year.