The Red Sox have optioned right-hander Ryan Weber to their alternate training site, as per a team announcement. Recently-acquired righty Dylan Covey has been called up to take Weber’s spot on the MLB roster.
The 2020 season has been a struggle for Weber, who has a 9.90 ERA over three starts and only 10 innings pitched. Weber has allowed five home runs over that brief sample size, as well as nine walks and only three strikeouts. Clearly the Sox had been enough to continue with Weber as a starting pitcher, as strapped as Boston is for arms.
It was due to this pitching shortage that Weber found himself in the rotation in the first place, after working as a reliever for 31 of his 42 Major League appearances prior to this season. Weber had only a 5.04 ERA and 5.7 K/9 through 114 1/3 innings from 2015-19, though his strong ability to generate grounders and limit hard contact gave the Red Sox some hope that he could at least tread water as a regular starter. Weber’s grounder rate is down to only 40% this season, however, and opposing batters are teeing off to the tune of a 54.8% hard-hit ball rate.
Covey might step right into Weber’s rotation spot, though while the 28-year-old righty brings more experience as a starting pitcher, he also has a rather shaky track record. Covey posted a 6.54 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 1.52 K/BB rate over 250 1/3 innings with the White Sox from 2017-2019, also posting some solid ground-ball rates and exhibiting some problems with the long ball (1.6 HR/9). Over 63 appearances for Chicago, Covey started 45 of those games.
The Red Sox acquired Covey from the Rays just a few days prior to their July opener, and he made one relief appearance for Boston before being sent to the alternate training site. That one outing didn’t go particularly well, as Covey gave up two earned runs over two innings in Boston’s 7-2 loss to the Orioles on July 25.