The Boston Red Sox will shore up their pitching for the 2020 season. This is a look at possible rotation directions for 2020.
The best of both pitching worlds is to strike a balance between the two pitching partnerships and this current season the Red Sox have accomplished just that. The unfortunate aspect is the partnership is currently battling to claim the ineptness title. To use a local description idiom – “They Suck!” So look at the rotation and possible outcomes.
The Red Sox are in a rotation quandary and to quote Sir Winston they are “A riddle wrapped in an enigma.” This season the enigma surfaced with if anything can go wrong it will. David Price and Chris Sale decided that 2019 would be the most opportune of times to disappear. This leads to my assumption that both Price and Sale are simply too good to fail. Both have shown glimpses of their old selves.
The Red Sox are in a fiscal bind and Sale and Price has enormous contracts that make either unmovable even if the Red Sox sought waivers and a return of just contract relief. The foundation for 2020 will be built around both.
Then there is the rest of the menagerie. Eduardo Rodriguez is tantalizing in his shutdown talent and frustrating in his ability to hit triple digits in pitch counts far too early. At this point, the evidence is clear that E-Rod is a more than capable mid-rotation starter and that gives you (hopefully) a triumvirate to build upon which is where the 2020 rotation will be settled.
The key could be Nathan Eovaldi who has essentially had a lost season with an elbow issue and attempting to rescue a sinking bullpen. Eovaldi as an $18 MM closer is difficult to comprehend since he was pegged for the rotation. A recovery by Eovaldi could solidify a rotation and allow a further concentration on the bullpen. Eovaldi is the unknown.
Rick Porcello and his $21.125 MM will disappear into the free agency abyss. Just how do the Red Sox choose to invest that sudden windfall? The Red Sox could offer Porcello and one or two-year incentive enriched contract, but other teams will be on the prowl and just maybe it is time to move on.
The last replacement piece is Andrew Cashner who has disappointed all but the opposition bats. Cashner is your place mark or place mat for a traditional fifth starter or preferably a swing-man to keep you away from the Brian Johnson’s and Hector Velazquez’s of the pitching world. Cashner has an option of $10 MM to kick in based on hurling 340 innings in 2018-19. A doubtful happening.
So exactly what rock does Dave Dombrowski turn over to get a capable starter or two? The minor league system offers nothing. The current roster offers nothing of value. The free-agent list has some interesting talent available that covers the baseball spectrum. The issue is certainly monetary and the Red Sox could invest strategically in what they may project as bargains. Or another big splash? Tying up a $100 MM in your rotation?
The other option facing DD is his regular roster being used as an instrument of changes. The most notable is Mookie Betts as the Red Sox will entertain offers on Betts. Andrew Benintendi is a lesser light in the Red Sox trading pantheon but is more controllable tha pending (2020) free agent Betts.
Since we all have opinions I will simply go with both a free agent signing and a trade. Just who is certainly of interest and do you go for potential bargains or the big splash in a rotation signing? If you or anyone could assure me that Price and Sale will return to glory it is bargains – replacing a Cashner within all probability an ability clone. I am firmly ensconced in the Price and Sale will be back with a pitching vengeance.
Does Betts go? What happens to the offensive spark plug if you ship off Betts? Do you gamble on Betts signing? My internal reaction is Betts wishes to move onward so best to get something in return and that something is centered on prospects. Pitching prospects. And if J.D. Martinez opts-out the offense will get screwed.
Then there is the bullpen which I will conveniently avoid at this point since it invariably leads to migraines. That, however (the bullpen), does not need to be addressed since Dombrowski feels it “Has been fine.” That gives me a real warm and fuzzy feeling about offseason moves.