Boston’s season-opening rotation is going to look quite a bit different than we could have imagined just a few weeks ago. Gone is left-hander David Price, whom the Red Sox traded to the Dodgers less than a month ago. Fellow southpaw Chris Sale – the team’s No. 1 starter – is still in the fold, but he’ll open the campaign on the 15-day injured list as a result of a pneumonia that has slowed him this spring. Price’s departure and the temporary absence of Sale leaves the Red Sox with just three hurlers – Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez – who are shoo-ins to begin 2020 in their rotation. So, even if not for Sale’s illness, they’d still be looking for someone to claim a spot in their rotation in the coming weeks.
Boston’s led by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, who used to be an executive with a Tampa Bay team that spearheaded the opener strategy. Manager Ron Roenicke admitted last week the Red Sox could mimic the AL East rival Rays in that regard (via Chad Jennings of The Athletic; subscription link).
“We can do (an opener) with two spots in the rotation,” Roenicke said. “But we’ll see if someone emerges and covers one of those spots (as a traditional starter).”
If the Red Sox do want to find at least one more conventional starter before the season, and if they’re not going to venture outside the organization to get one (which is a possibility), whom could they turn to from within? Let’s take a look at some of their options…
- Ryan Weber, RHP: The 29-year-old Weber has pitched in the majors for the Braves, Mariners, Rays and Red Sox since 2015, but he hasn’t experienced much success in the bigs. Weber’s fastball averaged under 89 mph last year as a member of the Red Sox, with whom he struggled to a 5.09 ERA (with a much better 4.20 FIP) and 6.42 K/9, 1.77 BB/9 and a 48.6 percent groundball rate across a career-high 40 2/3 innings. While Weber worked mostly as a reliever in 2019, the Red Sox are optimistic about his chances of turning into a capable starter or at least a bulk pitcher, thanks to increased reliance on a cutter.
- Chris Mazza, RHP: Mazza debuted in MLB last season with the Mets at the age of 29, but he yielded 10 earned runs on 21 hits during that 16 1/3-inning span. To Mazza’s credit, he was far better last year in Triple-A, where he put up a 3.67 ERA/3.85 FIP with 7.34 K/9, 2.13 BB/9 and a lofty 58 percent groundball rate across 76 frames.The Mets cut Mazza loose after the season, and he ended up with the Red Sox via waivers.
- Mike Shawaryn, RHP: Shawaryn, 25, was a fifth-rounder of the Red Sox in 2016 who climbed to the majors for the first time last season. It didn’t go well; even though Shawaryn racked up 29 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings, he surrendered 22 earned runs on 26 hits and issued 13 walks. And he wasn’t great with Triple-A Pawtucket, either, evidenced by a 4.52 ERA/5.65 FIP with 7.63 K/9 and 4.92 BB/9 in 89 2/3 frames.
- Kyle Hart, LHP: A 19th-round pick of the Red Sox in 2016, Hart has consistently prevented runs at a solid clip in the minors, where he has never posted an ERA above the threes at any level. The 27-year-old made his Triple-A debut in 2019 and logged a 3.86 ERA/4.32 FIP with 7.18 K/9 and 3.23 BB/9 over 100 1/3 innings.
- Hector Velazquez, RHP: The 31-year-old threw upward of 100 effective innings for the Red Sox from 2017-18, but things went downhill last season. Owing in part to a career-worst 4.47 BB/9 and a personal-low 38.6 percent groundball rate, Velazquez ended up with a 5.43 ERA/4.74 FIP in 56 1/3 innings.
- Matt Hall, LHP: Hall, 26, joined the Red Sox in a minor trade with the Tigers in January. The spin rate darling has enjoyed some success in the minors, shown in part by a 4.25 ERA with 10.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 144 Triple-A innings, but has allowed almost 10 runs per nine with 5.17 BB/9 in a smaller sample of major league frames (31 1/3).
- Phillips Valdez, RHP: Valdez was a waiver pickup from the Mariners just last week. He got his first taste of MLB action with the Rangers a season ago, and while he pitched to a 3.94 ERA, averaged better than 10 strikeouts per nine and induced grounders at a 53.3 percent clip, he walked more than five per nine at the same time. And Valdez wasn’t as good at Triple-A, where he recorded a 4.92 ERA/5.59 FIP with 7.44 K/9 and 4.12 BB/9 in 78 2/3 innings of work.
- Brian Johnson, LHP: Unlike the names listed above, Johnson’s not on Boston’s 40-man roster, meaning he’s facing an especially steep climb to begin the season in the majors. Now 29, Johnson turned in passable numbers as a member of the Red Sox in 2017-18, but health problems helped hold the soft-tossing southpaw to a 6.02 ERA/5.32 FIP in 40 1/3 innings last year, when he walked over five hitters per nine.
If you don’t find Boston’s back-end rotation choices enthralling, it’s hard to blame you. For all we know, though, Bloom will end up going outside for help – something he seems open to doing – whether via free agency, the trade market, waivers or some combination.
wow so much great talent
Randy Red Sox
Scrubs and BBB Bums each and every one of them. Wonderboy Mr Bloom is brilliant for assembling this pile of trash !!
Why blame Bloom who’s first order of business was to resolve the mandated financial mess? I hate the opener strategy. If it played as an exciting brand of baseball to watch, Tampa fans would have better filled their stadium because the team won. As a temporary measure I have no issues and if Sale and Eolvaldi get and stay healthy (a huge “if”), the team will be ok.
Tampa wouldn’t fill its stadium if the Stones played between innings and the beer was free.
Nowheredan – Lol … agreed
I don’t know I’d go to see the stones between innings along with free beer
I just don’t understand settling for these guys when there are a few solid arms in free agency, Aaron Sanchez for example, he could be an interesting low-cost bounce-back potential guy. Hell, even taking a flier on McHugh and using him as some sort of opener assuming he can get healthy could be a potential option. Just don’t understand going with most likely Weber and whoever to go out and get shelled each night.
Aaron Sanchez has shoulder surgery late last season and is not ready to return. He also has t been very good for four years.
Most teams have questions at the end of their rotations so Sox are in same place. Typically someone emerges.
Randy Red Sox
Even though Sanchez is not ready to start the season I have long stated the Sox should sign him but Mr Bloom would rather sign the TRASH he has done to date.
Sanchez will likely want a contract with incentives that could push the team towards the tax limit and prevent other in season moves. Just my guess but the team wants to get someone who they feel will be able to get on the mound.
Trade for Tim Dillard. He should at least make honorable mention.
Houck and Darwinzon Hernandez will both pitch more innings than any one on this list; even if they are called openers.
Houck is the lock for the spot. Red Sox want care about his service time enough to keep him down. Doubt he will be any good but still what else u got ??
I was wondering why Tanner wasn’t mentioned as well?
dynamite drop in monty
What a poopoo platter
What a promising group!!! Hey Bloom what if one of your top guys gets hurt? Are you kidding me and you guys raised ticket prices for this
Randy Red Sox
John Henry needs the money for his Globe paper so he doesn’t have to rip off the likes of me to pay his bills. Beware of the Globe’s $1 offer. Your C/C will be zapped BEFORE it expires and they will refuse to refund. Thanks very much Mr Henry !!
What a promising group!!! Hey Bloom what if one of your top guys gets hurt? Are you kidding me and you guys raised ticket prices for this. This team is dead before the season starts. I firmly believe this team is going to be sold.
and when they win another ring in a few years with this ownership will you admit you were wrong?
Jackie Bradley & Christian Vazquez for Wil Myers (3/30.5M), Austin Hedges, Joey Lucchesi & Adrian Morejon.
Pass. Sox don’t have anything that the Padres need. Pads farm is much stronger at this point. Id rather the Padres just keep what they have.
I’d certainly be on board with a JBJ to the Padres for Myers and his contract and a young pitcher (Quantril or Lucchesi etc) but I’d really rather not give up Vasquez. Especially this late in the off-season. Because they really don’t have another ML-caliber starting catcher and Vasquez looked really good last year and it’d be tough to give him up AND take back Myers Contract — though at the same time. My guess is the Pads wouldn’t be thrilled about taking back JBJ’s contract either so in order for something to work out with them for Myers $, and a young P it would probably have to include some sort of 3rd team.
Austin Hedges is not Christian Vazquez–Lucchesi and Morejon would be nice and I would be happy to see Myers in a Sox uni..
Bradley yes and either Dalbec or Chavis going to the Padres.
No Christian Vazquez.
Why are so many on this board trying to steal vazquez? he’s one of the better catchers around 2 of last 3 years with the bat and his glove and arm have always been tops.
Pads don’t need Vazquez in that Campusano is in the wings. Myers hits for more power than JBJ, has equal range, is a stolen base threat, if anything the Sox win that one. I want to see Myers stay a Padre. I think hes going to have a good year. The Pads have depth in their farm pitching wise.i just don’t see the Sox having anything the Padres need. Unless it were a creative three team deal the Pads and Sox don’t match up well in a trade.
I heard Price is glowing about being in LA, n no reporters at his locker questioning him. He can hardly control him enthusiasm being non compliant in Boston . Takes the money yet is stricken with insane ailments from over playing video games. So blame him g FB it the faulty rotation, cuz these guys will all be cut sooner or later.
If I were Mookie Betts and did not want to stay in Boston I would have said everything he said over the last six years. Just like Mr. Happy in LA, Price, Betts wanted out of Boston. Posts that keep saying RS should just pay him the money do not realize that he ask for an amount no one would pay! When he ask 12 years $420 million he obviously knew RS would trade him. No team will pay him that….. Price never liked Boston and RS had no choice but a trade and reload for the next title run. Look at the huge roster turnover from 2004 to 2007 to 2013 to 2018.
Price always was a bit of an egomaniac and never delivered until 2018 in the Playoffs. He then acted like a jerk with the “Holding All The Cards” act. He was getting paid a lot of money and I feel he still did not deliver on what he was paid to do. Another overpaid Athlete!
AL34 – agreed. If I could turn back the clock. I would have offered Lester enough for him to resign and never touched Price.
I think E-rod is gonna be huge for the Red Sox this year
Mike Minor would look good here.
Price put the RS in this dilemma with his slacking. I heard on WEEI he said how much he loves LA cuz no reporters hunting him down at his locker. The RS paid him grandly for being an ace in Boston n he repays them by playing videos games injuring himself, n fighting with HOF Eck cuz he said Price took too long in between pitched. So now the RS are having to deal with iffy pitchers all cuz Price was a malcontent. I seriously anticipate all these guys to get cut sooner or later
Let’s be real – The Red Sox put the Red Sox in this situation. RS front office should have seen the work ethic that Price has before they gave him all the money. He is just a player who can’t take the pressure of playing in a Boston or New York. Yankees and Sox have seen it too many times. Fortunately, the Red Sox have had the Dodgers to bail them out twice. Hopefully, Chaim will learn from the mistakes that were Price, Crawford, Drew, and Sandoval.
Also – The story about Price getting into it with Eckersley was about Eck’s comments about Eduardo Rodriguez’s performance. His way of “standing up” for his teammate was to yell at a Hall of Fame commentator. His intentions were good but the reaction was inappropriate.
It wasn’t only bout ERod, the most was his comments about himself n being too slow between pitchets.
That was from WEEI the other day.
He fought with Eck because when they were looking at Erods stats over a previous game, Eck said “yuck”. That was all.
Strong — almost right. E-Rod was on a rehab assignment. ECK asked if anyone knew how E-Rod did and was given , live on the air, a truly bad set of stats. Eck, being Eck, without thinking about being live on the air, blurted out “Yuck”. Late that night the Sox — with the Boston press — were on a flight to begin a road trip. Price started an argument with ECK on the plane in front of the press.
Eck later apologized to E Rod who’s public reaction to his own rehab start was a lot worse than Yuck.
Pasha2k – Agree 100 percent!
He throws 84 mph. Sure. Can’t be worse than these bums.
all in the suit that you wear
Maybe one or two of these guys can turn into effective relievers or maybe openers. I doubt they will make an impact as starters.
Cole will become Price in his 2nd season with NY
Let’s hope not, I wouldn’t wish that on any fan base. At least Price didn’t pull a Panda n fleece the stupid owners that gave him the money with no OUT clause bring in the shape he was. This is what happens when you throw money at players unable to handle it.
Cherington had zero talent picking free agents…Hanley Ramirez, Sandoval, Rusney or trades either, for that matter….Allen Craig, Joe Kelly(one good post season in 5 years)
Two things to remember. It has been frequently said that the first 40 games of the season determine the roster for the remainder of the full season. Second, those same 40 games include numerous rain outs, etc. so pitching with a 4-man rotation is not all that unmanageable. It is my guess that the front office is still working the phones to find another pitcher or two via trade and Bloom will continue his efforts into the season. Personally, I like Darwinzon Hernandez as the surprise of the 2020 season for the Red Sox…. All he has to do it seems is cut down on his walks.
I like Darwinzon too… kid can pitch. But it seems the Sox brass are convinced his future is in the bullpen. He should be successful there – but his stuff looks good to start too. Agree struggled at times to throw strikes last year
Have you seen his walks?
Way too many walks to be a starter
Looking like the Sox bullpen is going to be spent this season. They NEED to sign or trade for another starter.
Even having one opener every 5th game taxes the bullpen, where you hope a starter or two can pitch deep into a game here and there. Can Erod get some help eating innings per start?
The only good news so far out of camp is that both E-Rod & Eovaldi look really sharp, but I can’t see why Bloom picked up half of these bullpen guys. They all have spotty records and have looked awful in camp so far. This team has a lot of work to do in order to be competitive on the mound. At this point, it seems like Bloom could be waiting to see which veterans get DFA’d from other teams at the end of camp and will churn the bottom of the 40 man roster yet again. There’s a good chance their #5 starter is not even on their roster yet. They need to add 2 veteran pitchers who can pitch to a 4.50 ERA (or less) and eat innings for them. Their bullpen is not strong enough or deep enough to go with an opener for the entire season; that would be a disaster.
Randy Red Sox
Wonderboy Mr Bloom is looking to pick up another SP or two who is on a tryout and is told he won’t make that team’s 26 man roster. More GARBAGE BIN digging !!
Collin McHugh would be a really solid pickup for the Red Sox. Very low risk and potentially great reward. I realize he may not be ready for opening day but chances are the Sox are going to be in need of pitching depth come May/June as well not just to start the year. He was hurt most of last year but when he has been healthy in the past he has shown solid ability both in the rotation and in the bullpen. So he’s a guy you would think would interest the Sox… assuming he’s still available and hasn’t already worked out a deal elsewhere.
Sign Matt Harvey for the rotation. I think he grew up a Boston fan and he’d likely come cheap. BoSox saved a lot of money in the Betts/Price swap so they shouldn’t be piecing together a rotation like they are.
Yes please, makes the AL East a little easier
Randy Red Sox
Signing Harvey isn’t piecing their rotation? He’s worse than half the guys on the list.
The opener is a joke of an idea. Give 2 of Houck, Mata, Darwinzon, Mazza, Weber, Velazquez, etc the jobs and see how it goes. Sale comes back to take one spot away quickly. Then whoever has done better continues. Openers help overwork bullpens and lead to mediocrity and long boring games. Please Boston don’t punish fans with an opener or worse, two openers.
Randy Red Sox
This year is SHOT before it even begins. Mr Henry should just sell the Sox and concentrate on ripping people off with his Boston Globe paper. Beware their $1 promotion offer. They will zap your C/C BEFORE it expires and then refuse to refund.
I know the Sox would like to wait til mid season to inject Tanner Houck into the Rotation.
If they have ERod, Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Sale in a month, Houck and Brian Johnson.
Pen possibilities : Barnes, Brasier, Hembree, D Hernandez, Shawaryn, Josh Taylor, Velazquez, Marcus Walden, Workman.
Perhaps some help from the waiver Wire.
Weak staff. Very weak.
I agree with Thomar—Harvey is not the answer. I’d give him a look –minor league deal.
Maybe Steven Matz Mets–Yankees are looking??
Lucchesi, Quantrill–Padres. OR Stripling from the Dodgers–are all on many lists.
Imagine having been in a year-long coma and waking up to “And here are your 2020 Boston Red Sox”?
The beauty of reading many of these comments is Boston fans apparently have been spoiled for years and they can’t seem to take the fact that they have to operate like Tampa now with their pitching staff. Oh my God what will we do? We’ll have to start two people rather than have an ace? How can we ever win the game? Let’s just throw in the towel we’ve already lost some seem to be implying.
A lot of talent is going to emerge that most people are too impatient to let emerge in Boston and now they have to. I think there are going to be some surprises. if you look at the way the Tampa Bay Rays have operated why wouldn’t you feel optimistic they won more games then Boston last last year with that style of play. I bet most people couldn’t name me a list of pitchers on the Tampa Bay Rays. Yet they won more games than Boston in 2019. What this style of play does is that it brings a team together and forces everyone to compete. New talent emerges. I love watching that. I love watching how Kevin Cash makes a smorgasbord. If nothing else after 2020 Boston fans will see new talent emerge they never knew they had.
8752 – agree totally! Lester 2006, Buchholz 2007, Doubront 2010 are the last home grown starters to win 10 games or more in a season. It is time to give Boston starters a chance to develope. Please no more $210 million cry babies.
Where’s Clay when we need him ?
Nice pile of trash you give us ownership. They have the nerve to raise ticket prices. Absolute scumbags. Sell the team you POS.
Has Buchholz packed it in or is he still up for another gig?
The Rays are a study; soon every team will have a Rays clone in their front office.
I love how Kevin Cash, once a #3 catcher on the RS, has become a New Age Major League Manager. He will be in high demand when his contract expires.
How about the Sox try to get Jalen Beeks back from the Rays–he could easily be our #3 and reliable at that. He has been 11-4 with a high 4.36 ERA in two seasons.You’ve got to love the Sox upper management.
What could be worse than one game in your rotation being pitched by 6 relief pitchers? Two games…
I can’t see why Sox couldn’t get Maeda included in Dodgers deal w/ such a need for a starter. Think salary would have fit and if not, could have easily worked something out to include low level draft pick and/or Dodgers p/u little more salary for Price. One of the deals that wish you could know about but it is…what it is. Just really hate the opener idea, hope it doesn’t last whole season.
Ryan Weber has had two solid appearances so far this spring so he could get one spot. Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez are the likely “opener” candidates. Houck and Bryan Matta could both contribute at some point. Darwinzon Hernandez is likely ticketed for the bullpen and mike Shawaryn was pretty much awful last season, so yes it is an uninspiring group to say the least. Hopefully Bloom adds someone by the end of camp but I don’t count on it.
Many rookies are uninspiring when they first come up Buchholz 3-1 in 2007, 2-9 in 2008 with 6.75 era, but 17-7 in 2010 2.33 era narrowly missed AL era title, and 12-1 in 2013. Very few rookies come up and become an immediate star. It would be nice for the RS to give Houck a descent chance to become something.
Houck definitely deserves a chance, as does Matta. I was more referring to the group of Weber/Johnson/Velazquez. Hernandez probably should get a look but they seem to like him in the ‘pen. Shawaryn just wasnt good at any level last season and unfortunately Jay Groome and Thad Ward are probably each at least a couple of years away.
By the time the RS traded Price and Betts all the starting pitching worth signing had already signed. The RS did not want to sign a starter earlier in fear that the Price Betts deal would not get done pushing them even further into CBT territory