The Red Sox rotation crunch will surface this spring training

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The Boston Red Sox spring training will give a glimpse of what to expect of the rotation at the beginning of the season. This rotation is loaded – but with question marks.

Just what will happen in spring training with the Red Sox rotation? This is a quality group on paper, but on the mound is vastly different from paper. Just who will be ready?  Who would one lay Vegas odds on breaking down either in the spring or the regular season?  And, yes, you can place a line on that.

So, now for a quick gander at just who will get starting nods in the beginning of the season.  Just who will carry the load and who will fall off a cliff? I have the worry beads out of this rotation.

Steven Wright is not an injury situation unless one wishes to determine some type of mental stability associated with spousal abuse.  How serious was it?  The legal system and the baseball legal system are two separate entities.  Baseball is like Judge Dredd. Wright will be suspended, but for how long? A slap on the wrist (ten games or less) or a slap in the face (think Aroldis Chapman)? Expect Wright to be an observer on opening day.

Eduardo Rodriguez is probably well-written in case studies on orthopedics.  Just How often has the promising E-Rod been shunted to the sidelines? The current situation is that one can expect Rodriguez to be charting pitches (do they still do that?).  The surgical prognosis was a six-month recovery from mid-October knee surgery and that would mean mid-April – maybe.

David Price is the very big question mark – probably in capital letter. The on and off physical issues of the Price elbow of 2017 are well-known as is the potential for the Red Sox digesting a very large portion of a $217 MM contract.  Price recovered enough to put to rest some career postseason dust devils with an excellent 6.2 innings in two games against the World Champion Astros in the ALDS.

Price is now 32-years-old and has exceeded 200+ innings on six occasions in his stellar 10-year career. In 2016 Price led the American League in starts (35) and innings pitched (230) and last season Price took the hill in only 11 starts. I don’t see this ended with any joy in Mudville. A fragile elbow, age, and a world of innings are all conspiring. Expect Price to serve some significant DL time – but when?

A guaranteed constant on the staff is Rick Porcello.  Porcello has a rubber arm as they would tout in another age.  The problem with Porcello’s rubber arm is what the wooden bats did to it in 2017. In nine MLB seasons, Porcello has made 30+ starts as he is as dependable as Big Ben striking twelve twice a day – if BB is still up and running?

Porcello will be up and running when the starting bell rings or tongs or whatever bells do when April rolls in. Just what Boston gets will be another story.

The worry with Chris Sale is a somewhat quirky delivery that had some questioning if Tommy John Surgery was in his future? Examining pitching it just seems it is in every hurler’s future.  That aside one can expect Sale to be up and ready for the long march through September and hopefully deep into October.

The Big Question with Sale – at least for me – is 180 as in 180 starts in the last six seasons. Is this a potential disaster? No! A Sale breakdown will only happen when he signs a six-year extension for Price type money.  Seems that is the way it always goes, folks.

Every spring we have an ant infestation and that creates a puzzle in my household. How to get rid of them?  Ant traps, spraying, training the cats to eat them, intervention by expensive professions, creating my own “kill zones,” but they get through.  It is a puzzle much like how did Drew Pomeranz win 17 games?

Pomeranz made many of us in RSN pay a visit to Crow Mart for a bountiful helping of eating crow. But Pomeranz did miss a few turns and that is of concern along with 173 innings for a pitcher who is relatively new to the 100+ innings game.  I will now go out on a ledge and say Drew is the real deal despite some questionable metrics that point to me being a dope on this one.

My choice for the spot starter in April is Hector Velazquez. The righty was to the organization for the Mexican League and being familiar with that league you known he’ll be tough to rattle. Take away one Boston game in which Hector got lit up like the fourth on the National Mall and he was reasonably impressive in the small sample.

Brian Johnson is on organizational life support and if the lefty and former number one draft choice have the shakes he’ll join Henry Owens on exit stage left. Johnson has the “stuff” and Johnson has the walks (3.4 BB/9), but Johnson has his shot coming up.  Good luck.

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About Rick McNair

Born in Boston and have lived in the area all my life but not as a Red Sox fan. My first game was actually at Braves Field where I saw a very young Eddie Matthews hit a home run. The Braves left and I quickly switched loyalties. I enjoy discussing the Red Sox past and the connection of that past to the present. I will often bring in remembrances of that into posts. As a retired teacher I have the time to occasional travel to foreign baseball soil and love meeting up with other fans of RSN on the road. I am also a fan of the NY Football Giants (via NJ) - a dwindling breed in Massachusetts.
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