Upgrading the Red Sox rotation has been a well-established goal for the club this winter, but they’ve achieved little on that front beyond swapping out Chris Sale for Lucas Giolito to this point despite pursuits of players such as Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga this winter. While chief baseball officer Craig Breslow has indicated that the club remains “engaged” in the market for starting pitching, club CEO Sam Kennedy recently cast some doubt on the possibility of the club making a significant addition by noting that the club is unlikely to match its 2023 payroll in 2024.
With that being said, at least one member of the Red Sox pitching apparatus feels confident about the club’s internal options headed into the season. In a conversation with Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, newly-minted pitching coach Andrew Bailey disputed the notion that the club needs to add another starting pitcher to its rotation mix while adding that he feels the group, which consists of Giolito, Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford and Nick Pivetta with the likes of Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock in competition for the fifth spot, has the talent to succeed. That group of pitchers combined for a 4.51 ERA in 791 innings of work last year.
Bailey’s optimism regarding the club’s internal options for the rotation is fortunate as its unclear whether the club will be successful in adding another arm to the rotation this offseason. According to RosterResource, the club’s current projected payroll is just $21MM below its 2023 level, likely leaving room for little more than a lower-level acquisition such as Mike Clevinger, Hyun-Jin Ryu, or perhaps a reunion with James Paxton. More significant additions such as a deal for Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell would surely require the club to move an existing salary such as that of closer Kenley Jansen, particularly the club’s continuing pursuit of a right-handed hitter such as Adam Duvall.
More notes from Boston…
- While manager Alex Cora is entering the final year of his contract in 2024, the 48-year-old skipper recently told reporters (including MassLive’s Chris Cotillo) that he has yet to have any significant discussions with the club regarding his future, though he added that he’d be “very selfish” to focus on that and take his attention away from the upcoming season. Cora has previously indicated that he would like to move upstairs to a front office role at some point, though it’s worth noting that he added that he’s “not ready” to make that jump at this point in his career. If he remains in the dugout following the 2024 season, whether at Fenway or elsewhere, he’ll do so as one of the league’s most well-respected managers with a record of 440-370 through five seasons at the helm in Boston.
- One piece of the Red Sox management puzzle that seems unlikely to change any time soon is ownership. As noted by Christopher Smith of MassLive, club chairman Tom Werner recently spoke to reporters about the ownership group’s plans to remain in Boston long-term. Werner noted that the Red Sox are the “cornerstone” of Fenway Sports Group, the club’s parent company that also owns other major sports teams such as Liverpool F.C. and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Werner added that ownership hopes to remain at the helm in Boston “for a couple more decades at least.”
- The Red Sox made a significant hire for their front office earlier this week as The Athletic’s Eno Sarris reports that pitching guru Kyle Boddy has joined the club as a special advisor to Breslow. Boddy is best known as the founder of Driveline Baseball, a data-driven independent player development facility. Aside from his work at Driveline, Boddy also served as the Reds’ pitching director from October 2019 to September 2021. This offseason has seen the Red Sox focus heavily on hires with backgrounds in pitching development, with both Breslow and Bailey joining the club’s ranks in addition to Boddy over the past few months.