Right-hander Garrett Whitlock is still on the mend from September hip surgery, though Red Sox skipper Alex Cora indicated this morning there’s a possibility he won’t be ready for Opening Day (Twitter link via Ian Browne of MLB.com). Whitlock has been throwing off a mound but is not yet performing pitchers’ fielding practice, and Cora stated that if the right-hander isn’t ready for the start of the season, “he’s not going to lose too much time.”
One of the best Rule 5 selections in recent memory, the 26-year-old Whitlock has pitched 151 2/3 innings for Boston over the past two seasons, logging a sharp 2.73 ERA with a strong 26.8% strikeout rate against a brilliant 5.3% walk rate. The Red Sox have used him far more out of the bullpen than the rotation, but he’s slated to get a look as a starter in 2023, joining the likes of Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, James Paxton and Nick Pivetta in the mix for rotation work. Fellow righty Tanner Houck and top prospect Brayan Bello are both options to step into the rotation, should Whitlock need to miss any time early in the season.
A few more health situations to monitor as spring camps continue to ramp up…
- D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed received a cortisone injection in his right forearm and will be shut down for at least five days, writes Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. The 32-year-old Ahmed (33 next month) was dealing with inflammation and tightness in his forearm, and the hope is that the injection and some downtime will clear it up and avoid a lengthy absence. Ahmed was limited to 129 games in 2021 and just 17 games in 2022 thanks to a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery last year. If healthy, he’ll be back in line for regular reps at shortstop, where he’s ranked among the game’s best defenders at any position. A healthy 2023 campaign is of particular importance for Ahmed, as he’s entering the final season of a four-year, $32MM contract and is slated to become a free agent for the first time next offseason.
- Infielder Miguel Vargas, who suffered a hairline fracture of his pinkie finger earlier this spring, has resumed swinging a bat, writes Jack Harris of the L.A. Times. The 23-year-old Vargas, widely considered to be one of the sport’s 100 best prospects, scuffled through a 50-plate appearance MLB debut in 2022 (.170/.200/.255) but ripped through Triple-A pitching at a torrid .304/.404/.511 pace (129 wRC+). He’s the favorite for everyday work at second base to begin the season, though obviously the health of his finger will determine his readiness for the season. Vargas is in the Dodgers’ lineup for the second time in three spring games today, but he’s batting ninth and isn’t expected to swing during any plate appearances today (he walked and struck out on Saturday). He’ll still get some work at second base and use today’s game to work on tracking pitches in the batter’s box. It’s not clear yet when he’ll begin swinging the bat in a game setting.
- Reds infielder Matt Reynolds is headed for an MRI after exiting Saturday’s Cactus League game with a quadriceps injury, tweets Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The 31-year-old Reynolds, in camp as a non-roster invitee, logged a career-high 272 plate appearances with Cincinnati in 2022, slashing .246/.320/.332 while appearing at every position other than catcher. Reynolds is competing with fellow non-roster invitees like Chad Pinder, Alejo Lopez and Jason Vosler for a spot on manager David Bell’s bench to begin the 2023 season.
Nick Ahmed’s injury was to his left forearm, not his right.
They’ll have to re-do the shot in the correct arm haha!
Take as much time as you need Garrett…. Our savior Brais will pick up the slack this year!!!
Braiser is your “savior”? Wow I got him as the 10th or 11th pitcher on the Red Sox roster. If you were GM would you start him on Opening Day?
Rsmith…. Don’t be ridiculous… I bring him in as closer to get last out!!!
Nice. I thought your “savior” comment was ridiculous, but clearly you believe it and backing it up.
Thanks for playing!!! Life like baseball… WAY to serious!!!!
Rsmith- the Brasier comments were a joke that you obviously missed! Brasier still existing on the Red Sox roster is one of the latest reasons ‘fans’ on this site want Bloom fired. The only readers of this site that want Brasier as the Red Sox closer are Yankee trolls.
Get a life. I wasnt serious either.
JC….. I have been called many many things… but GOD forbid… never anything as bad as anything even remotely tied to the Yankees!!!. Just root for the major underdogs… see Curtis Leskanic (04) He did have a save against Yankees last year by the way…. LOL!!! But yes most if not all my Brais comments are … well …
Rsmith – you just sound ignorant
Alright gentlemen…. I will do my best to curb my #70 for closer of year banter… this could be a rough year and we can’t start abandoning ship already!!!
JC: Whats your problem??? I shut the trolll up, and as soon as you speak up, hes back. Youre being the ignorant one.
Rsmith.. if it helps I did enjoy your breakdown on rule 5 draft… as for following baseball for approximately 47 years ( can’t really count first 10) I did not know that’s how it works… as for my Brais comments they were meant In fun/ humor etc… which I’m sure you now know.. anyways back up to the booth…
Randy Red Sox
I am just glad we let Song and Ward go but kept Brasier. Brilliant thoughts there Chaim!!
“Im glad we let Song . . .”
The Red Sox adding Noah Song to the 40-man wouldve been a joke. No way Philly is going to be able too keep him either. He has to stay on the major league roster all season or be given back. A pitcher who has only pitched 17 innings at Low A, four years ago, isnt going to last on a team that is hoping to return to the WS.
Maybe they find a fake injury, but you need the player to play along for that.
Randy Red Sox
I am not 100% sure on the rules regarding Rule V guys but I thought I read somewhere that the Phillies could place him on waivers for another team to claim him or perhaps even trade him. In any event I feel Song has a much brighter future in MLB than “gas can” Brasier
Randy: The rule:
‘Any other team can claim the player and by doing so that team assumes the Rule 5 roster responsibilities. If no one claims the player, he is dropped from the 40-man roster. He is offered back to his original team who can chose to take him back’
If he’s not doing good enough to make Phillies, most likely he’s not worthy of making another team’s 25-man roster. I cant recall any player that got claimed in this fashion. Im not saying it never happened, but its highly unlikely.
Before the Phil’s can do anything else, Song must be offered back to the Sox for 1/2 of the Rule V price.
I thought the same, until I looked it up. Maybe the rule recently changed. Waiver first, but must be kept by the team that claims him on their 25-man roster. Then, he gets offered back to origin team.
This comes from Baseball America:
Song hadn’t even picked up a baseball in 3yrs
OK– If they changed the rule, I missed it. It has always been 1st offered to the original team and then waivers. I would guess that the players wanted a better chance for the player to stick in the majors for the whole yr.
I am just glad we let Song and Ward go but kept Brasier.
I’d make a gentleman’s wager that Brasier has a better WAR in 2023 than Song.
The reason he got picked up by Philly is DD. He believed in him years ago and still does. He also understands what a putz Bloom is so I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the Philly farm system.
As long as it is not an extended period of time, there could be some positives to this. IMHO, our best pitching construct is Sale, Bello, Pivetta, Eovaldi & Paxton, with Whitlock & Houck in the BP. Assuming health with my proposed rotation, Houck has to start the year in the BP. And if the rotation pitches well, we can ease Whitlock back into the BP until one of the rotation goes down.
Eovaldi is no longer on the Red Sox
He meant Kluber.
Not my fault. I typed Kluber and spell check converted that to Eovaldi. That happens to me once in a while.
The funny part is that I kind of felt that the rotation was slightly better than I thought it was. Now I know why.
Fever Pitch Guy
Joe – You know that spell check converts words to similarly spelled words, right? Like Sox to Six, Bloom to Doom, etc.
Even if it truly was spell check’s doing (it wasn’t) you’re saying we are not responsible for looking at what’s typed before posting or letting the 5 minute edit window pass?
Regardless of your lack of accountability, calling the injury of any player a “positive” is shameful.
Red Sox Nation hopes Whitlock recovers soon.
ROTFLMAO! You took me seriously when I said it was spellcheck?
Pulling guys out of the pen to fill in for a starter doesn’t work all that well. They’re not used to the arm workload of a starter Elton g in the pen and can’t throw anywhere close to a starter’s 100 pitch outing usually taking 4 starts to build up to that level.
They’d be better served delaying Whitlock starting the season if need be and still building up as a starter, even if he needs to make a couple of starts in AAA before coming back up to Boston.
The bullpen is much better with Whitlock in it. He brings a calming effect to it.
I tend to agree especially with Whitlock. I know they wanted to make him a starter but I’d much rather have him and Houck in the pen instead where both have been shown to be more effective.
“pulling out of pen”
Whitlock was always a starter. In minors he had 38 starts compared to 4 relief appearances. He was only made a reliever because a) they wanted to ease him back after surgery and b) he was claimed via Rule V, they couldnt send him down to minors so he was easier to hide as a reliever.
I dont think Red Sox ever planned him to be a middle reliever, he just had great success that one year. Starters are more valuable than relievers, if you have the option, you usually make a guy a starter.
I don’t disagree with that. I was responding to the notion of starting the season with him in the pen and then pulling him back into the rotation if needed like what they did last year.
If the plan is for Whitlock to be a starter, and I agree with you that’s what the long term plan for him has always been, then he should do that. If he’s not going to be ready to start the season let him stay back in extended Spring Training until he’s ready.
he just had great success that one year.
Therein lies the conundrum. I’ve always maintained he was our MVP in 2021, even if the numbers don’t support it. He was part of every huge win.
Randy Red Sox
which will probably be by opening day
Joe – Whitlock starting the year on the IL is not a bad thing as he has only pitched between 70 and 80 innings in 2021 and 2022. A later start to 2023 would keep him fresher for when the season matter most: the playoffs. Without the new playoff system the AL East games going from 73 to 54, they have as good a chance as many other teams.
Now you’re talking JC… I know it might be a reach but what were they expected to do in 13??? Not much from my recollection…. That’s why they play the games….
Vargas walked when the opposition (probably) knew he wasn’t going to swing? That’s poor pitching.
I prefer Houck &; Whit as 2, 3, or even 4 inning guys in relief. Allows the rest of the pen off days. It’s not McClain &; Lolich starting – but used well – it could keep the relief corps from being burned out. Of course with injuries both could become starters , but limiting their innings early will help both to be stronger in the 2d half.
During a throw away season it makes perfect sense to use Houck, Pivetta and Whitlock as starters and have them stretch out so by 2024 they might be able to go 200 innings.
There are many other younger pitchers that should get the 4/5 inning relief jobs. They too need to develop for the future. Maybe test the water in April and try to compete in 2023 but once they are 10 games out, it’s time to change the plan and do everything for 2024 and beyond. This year is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It’s main purpose is to transition to a competitive team in the future.once Bloom is gone.
Bloom… hey do you feel anything but a 90plus loss season gets bloom fired?? I know apples to oranges but here in Chicago ( after the great run) Jerry R gave Krause a verrrry long leash to build another winner.. just thinking if you feel Bloom has this kind of Leah way with Henry ( till 24 or broke) sort of a Theo theme with Cubs….
olmtiant – Great comparison. Never understood why given the choice of Phil or Krause an owner would take Krause. Never understood how the Bears let Wilbur Marshall go after the Superbowl. I grew up in Chicago.
Never understood why the Pats didn’t just go out and get two stud WRs for Brady before he left. Still can’t understand the Bloom choice. He said lots of great things but did none of them. It doesn’t take 3 years to see a guy is taking a team in the wrong direction and giving Bloom a long leash after putting a great GM on a short leash makes no sense.
It’s supposed to be about consistent winning and Bloom has done the opposite after DD was a consistent winner so maybe it isn’t about consistent winning. I always try to dig deeper when the alleged truth doesn’t ring true. That’s why I believe Mookie was the catalyst of this disaster in Boston. Mookie was upset and met with ownership about Price. After that he seemed more resolved to seek free agency. Dombrowski always believed the previous issues with money were not on him so he built his team with his choices costing less than the cap. Mookie was part of DD’s plan and I truly believe he intended to do everything to resign him and I think that’s what got him fired. Surely his 104 games over .500 was more than enough success to keep his job. As I documented, his spending was ALWAYS under the CAP for his players and he felt the owners should be responsible for the mistakes made before he arrived. So I think it’s likely that Mookie’s meeting led to DD’s firing which led to Boston hiring a patsy GM like Bloom. They planned to axe Mookie and hired a guy so young and ambitious that he would do the unthinkable and never look back. And he did.
There is an alternate theory that aligns with what you wrote. Jealously over who gets the credit for successes is a big part of sports. Krause hated that Phil got all the credit for the Bulls run in the 90s. Buddy Ryan hated that Ditka got all the credit for the Bears Superbowl and quickly ended that potential dynasty. I often wonder about Henry and ownership being upset that Dombrowski got the credit for the 2018 championship.
As the pre-season began in 2019 it appeared as if Cora had created a direct link to Henry bi-passing DD. I wondered about why that happened and I think it was the criminal mind of Cora figuring out how to cover his rear-end about the 2018 sign stealing scandal. See, there is enough evidence that leaked out from those that testified and then recanted their comments that Cora was in charge of the scandal and he had a bad relationship with DD so he discussed things directly with ownership. That gave him leverage over the owners so when they fired him apologetically after dismissing DD as if he did nothing for the organization I asked myself why? Why would ownership fire Cora while practically promising him a job in a year after completely dismissing the firing of a DD as a non event after he gave them 104 wins over .500 in less than 4 seasons?
Only one thing jumped out. Cora had the ability to tell the commissioner that he had shared the details of the sign stealing system with ownership. They would have been embarrassed and banned from baseball for a year if that news was ever made public so a very, very bad manager with no scruples may have leveraged the owners into a job down the road. That makes more sense to me than anything else because hiring a massive cheater as the manager after a short season ban seemed like an unethical approach to re-building a winning organization after losing DD.
So, fans can only hope 90 losses will do the trick to remove both Bloom and Cora. Personally, I’d like to see it happen mid season so Boston can get the jump on others seeking an experienced GM with a successful track record with Big Market teams. I want the new GM to pick the new Manager. The only thing standing in Boston’s way to reverting back to a successful organization is the undeniable need for the owners to have a strong like to the DR. That link may force the new GM into selecting another under-qualified manager. Let’s hope not but the pressure will be on the new GM.
Loved the two Chicago references!!
Good stuff Bloom… yeah you are spot on with both Krause and buddy… Jerry did a lot for Bulls/ white Sox but he was definitely guilty of being way to loyal to possibly the wrong people at the wrong time( see Larussa) your comparison and analysis of Cora/ DD definitely has me scratching my head… again apples to oranges but Tuna in Dallas leaves… nice guy Wade ( puppet) takes over… then the ultimate puppet Jason is given free reign for way to many years… I want To believe your above mentioned can’t be true but then I think of the way Theo and worse Tito was treated at end and I realize it is way to pause able .. only hoping it doesn’t continue down the same path as The Bulls/ Bears and Cowboys road….again while I’m so damn happy for 4 Ws titles.. I hope as before teams mentioned I not saying this 15 years from now with those same 4…again good stuff.. and I didn’t even get in to the 85 Bears defense being helped by the # 1 rushing and time control offense ( I get it they were phenomenal but there’s reasons why )
oimtiant – Compeltely agree. My biggest fear is that I’ve seen my last ring ceremony and duck boat parade. My father lived 80 years and never saw one because he died in August 2003. Ironically, my mother was a White Sox fan and she lived 80 years and never saw one either! She died in February of 2004!!
The great news is my kids saw 4 before my oldest graduated High School. With DD I thought they’d see plenty more. Bloom has set back the organization at least a half decade. What kind of moron takes three years to dump a championship team? If that was the goal, it should have happened in 2020 so we’d be nearly 3 years farther down the road now. At Bloom’s pace, the rebuild will take at least a decade. What big market team can wait that long?
I feel like if Ahmed isn’t ready to go out of the gate the D’backs might just be willing to roll with Perdomo and eat the remaining $10 million and release him
They should play him in the spring and do a jake odorizzi type deal just to get out of some of the money and maybe get a player back. Then again, he and Perdomo are ineffective with the bat so who knows.
It’s unlikely they get rid of Ahmed and try to get through the season and open up the season with just Perdomo, Alexander, and Lawlar as their organzation shortstop depth.
I think almost every serious Red Sox fan would *prefer* to see Whitlock in the pen, pitching those crucial 2+ inning stints in the middle-to-late innings of close games like he did with such utter dominance in 2021. But, as others have noted:
1) He came up as a Starter
2) He is on the record as saying he prefers to be a Starter
3) He has more potential upside and value in the rotation if, say, he can emerge in to a truly reliable #2/#3 type. His contract would be one of the best in baseball if that were to happen.
All that said, I have to imagine he will see some time in both roles this season, and I just really hope any back-and-forth shuffling like that doesn’t mess him up like it did with Bard.
B dog 351
Whitlock in the pen makes sense if they are competitive. In my opinion they aren’t going to be very competitive . The rotation is suspect . Defensively ( ouch) . The games that they will be in it Cora Will probably over work Whitlock and burn him out . Put him in the rotation when he’s healthy and see what happens.
Wow they really dropped the ball on this headline. Let me help…
“Red Sox Pitcher not a Whit-LOCK to start the season.”
Made a profile just to say that.
Steve Cohen Owns You
Thank you for your service
With Sale, Paxton and Kluber as the top 3 SPs based on money, Boston should have Houck, Pivetta and Whitlock and possibly Bello ready to jump into the rotation as soon as one of the big 3 go down.
I’d say the over/under on an injury by the big 3 is April 15th. So at that point Houck, Pivetta and Whitlock/Bello will need to be ready to step in. By May 15th, it’s likely the four young pitchers will all be in the starting rotation. This could be a good year without winning if the young pitchers can all take a step forward and be ready to be starters in 2024. That allows the other good young pitchers to develop as bullpen support at the MLB level.
There is a great chance that the Red Sox Pitching staff will be their strength in 2 years if Bloom and Cora are smart about using the young players in a way that prepares them for the future rather than trying to squeeze out a playoff spot when they don’t have the hitting to do so. Over use and blowing out arms has been common place under Cora so hopefully Whitlock isn’t over used in relief and the same for Houck and Bello. Given the chance to start, Houck, Bello and Whitlock could be your #1, #2 and #3 SPs when Sale’s contract is up..
I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the Philly farm system.
I’m curious how you think that’s going to work. In order for him to wind up in the Phillies minor league system, Philly has to put him on waivers, and 29 other teams have to pass. Then they have to offer him back to the Red Sox, at which point the RS can put him in the minors.
Just for fun, explain how you think this is all going to happen.