It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the Boston Red Sox need a rotation upgrade for a September push, and beyond.
There’s no question that the Boston Red Sox rotation has been a source of irritation this season. Not only has it lacked overall consistency, but there have been injuries to Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, and David Price coupled with the worst statistical season of Rick Porcello‘s career. The previous has allowed for the likes of Ryan Weber, Josh Smith, Hector Velazquez, and Brian Johnson to make spot starts in the rotation – a phenomenon that Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski would have hoped to avoid.
Currently, Brian Johnson occupies the fifth spot in the rotation and has struggled to produce at an acceptable rate. As a starter, Johnson has posted a 5.09 ERA over seven starts and possesses an 0-2 record. Not only has the former top prospect failed to produce, but he’s completed five innings just once all season – forcing the bullpen to cover the rest of his shortened outing.
It’s been quiet, but the Red Sox are grooming his replacement in Pawtucket. Mike Shawaryn has slowly been re-introduced as a starter after converting to a reliever earlier this season. In Boston, Shawaryn posted a misleading 8.53 ERA, allowing 11 of his 12 ER over his last two outings and ultimately leading to a demotion. Since returning to the Pawtucket rotation, the Maryland product has allowed only 3 ER over 12 innings while striking out six.
If the Red Sox are to make a postseason push, Brian Johnson needs to exit the rotation and Shawaryn has become a potential option to step into the revolving door that has been the fifth spot in the rotation.
Long Term Solution?
Not only could Shawaryn benefit a late season postseason push, but his value could extend well beyond the 2019 season. The Red Sox will have a void to fill with Rick Porcello’s contract expiring at the end of this season, and while a big name would be the popular replacement choice, an in-house solution would allow the Sox to save money and allot it to a Mookie Betts extension.
Temper potential expectations, as Shawaryn is by no means the next Chris Sale, but there’s very reasonable chances that he develops into a piece of the Red Sox future. He has valuable Major League experience and if he develops, it will greatly benefit the long term outlook of the defending World Series champions.