Normally contenders, the Red Sox finished with one of the majors’ worst records in 2020, winning just 24 of 60 games. One obvious reason? They received zero contributions from their two best starters, left-handers Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez, who missed the season with health problems.
While it would be nice for the Red Sox to get full years from both Sale and Rodriguez in 2021, that doesn’t appear likely. Regarding Sale, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom revealed Thursday (via Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald) that the ace won’t be available when next season begins.
“When he comes back, that’s upside,” Bloom said. “Because we know that’s not going to be at the beginning of the season.”
Sale underwent Tommy John surgery in March, and that typically requires a 12- to 15-month recovery period. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that Boston will miss Sale for some portion of time next year. But it’s still less than ideal for a team that signed Sale to a five-year, $145MM extension that just kicked in this past season.
The news is much better for Rodriguez, who on Thursday told MLB Network Radio, “I will be 100 percent ready for next season.” Rodriguez had a career campaign in 2019, but COVID-19 and myocarditis shelved him this year. He was just cleared to begin walking again in late September, so it’s remarkable that Rodriguez is on track to be in the Red Sox’s season-opening rotation in a few months.
Besides Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi, the Red Sox might not be sure who will be in their starting staff when next year commences. Their rotation stumbled to a bottom-of-the-barrel 5.34 ERA/5.50 FIP in 2020, though Tanner Houck and Nick Pivetta showed quite a bit of promise over a combined five starts and could earn spots. Otherwise, Boston may try to pick up at least one veteran in free agency to fill out the group.
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