Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom declined to speculate on the status of southpaw Chris Sale before getting final word from the doctors. Sale underwent an MRI today for a sore elbow. As Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times covers via Twitter, Bloom acknowledged “concern” but also said that, “hopefully, it is just a bump in the road.” The team does have some information beyond what is known publicly; as Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe notes on Twitter, team doctors have already had a look at the imaging. But it seems that we’ll have to await the assessment of Dr. James Andrews before learning of Sale’ fate.
More from the Boston organization …
- Even before this worrisome situation arose regarding Sale, the Red Sox have been toying with the idea of utilizing a starter at time in the upcoming season. As MLB.com’s Ian Browne reported recently, Bloom has been working with manager Ron Roenicke to work through the possibilities for employing such a strategy. Roenicke says the reasoning behind the concept is largely a reflection of the “personnel” available. Clearly, any lengthy absence from Sale would only increase the appeal.
- On the positive side, the Sox have seen some encouraging signs from Nathan Eovaldi. As Browne further reports, the embattled righty says he “feel[s] really good” and believes his “mechanics are really good right now.” The results have been there to this point, not that there’s much sense putting too much stock in two spring appearances. But the Boston organization has to hope that the 30-year-old can sustain some momentum after a 2019 campaign in which he stumbled to a 5.99 ERA in 67 2/3 innings.
- Veteran Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez held forth on a few labor topics with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. The star expressed concern with the incentives teams have in constructing rosters. By his reckoning, baseball is “losing a lot of fans because teams are more motivate to lose than they are to win.” Martinez suggests that the competitive balance tax has had the opposite of its intended effect. He advocates for a “floor tax” by which teams would be penalized for under-spending. Ultimately, says Martinez, the game must “figure out a way to reward teams for competing and not reward them for losing” — or risk fading in relevance.
- Infield prospect Jeter Downs was dropped into the Boston spotlight when he was included as a major component of the (re-formulated) Mookie Betts swap. As Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic writes (subscription link), the Sox are getting a player who’s known more as a dedicated grinder than for his flash. Though Downs wasn’t in the initial iteration of the Betts deal, he wasn’t an afterthought. It seems the Red Sox have long had eyes for the 21-year-old and were particularly impressed by some mid-2019 tweaks that both reflected Downs’s attention to detail and raised his foreseeable ceiling as a hitter.