SEPT. 25: The Red Sox received “really good news” regarding Rodriguez on Friday, Roenicke told Ian Browne of MLB.com and other reporters. Rodriguez has been cleared to start walking again in a couple of weeks, and the Red Sox are hopeful he’ll be able to have a normal offseason.
SEPT. 24: The Red Sox have gone all season without their two best starters, left-handers Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez, because of health problems. Thanks in part to their absences, the Red Sox have gone a horrible 22-34 – the second-worst record in the American League. However, the hope is that the Red Sox will have one or both of the Sale-Rodriguez tandem back when the 2021 campaign commences.
Manager Ron Roenicke issued updates on Sale and Rodriguez on Thursday, saying (via Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic; Twitter links) that the former is coming along well in his recently started throwing program and the latter will meet with doctors in the coming days to determine next steps. Sale has been on the shelf since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, while Rodriguez has been down with myocarditis after a bout with the coronavirus.
For Boston’s starting staff, there’s no doubting the importance of Sale or Rodriguez. Sale, a longtime ace, signed a five-year, $145MM extension before the 2019 season, and while his numbers dipped after that, he remained an above-average starter. He still has four guaranteed seasons left on that deal. Rodriguez has given the Red Sox solid production since he debuted in 2015, and with next season being his final year of arbitration eligibility, it could be a crucial campaign for him.
Without Sale and Rodriguez, the Red Sox’s rotation has struggled to the majors’ second-worst ERA and FIP in 2020. They’ve completely lacked solutions beyond Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez, who could return to the team next year as complements to Sale and Rodriguez if the latter two are well enough to pitch by then.