The Red Sox have traded or released many pitchers over the past few years. Here is a look at how some of those pitchers are doing now.
Pitching, pitching, pitching; it’s been the subject that has defined this year’s Red Sox team. One can’t turn on Boston sports radio and go five minutes without a commentator bemoaning the fact that if the Red Sox only had one more decent pitcher, they would be the favorite to win the pennant. Why? Because it’s true and it’s frustrating.
What makes it so infuriating is the fact that, in recent years, the Red Sox have failed to hold on to many pitchers who, based on their performance this season, could have filled this void.
And now, to add insult to injury, here is an update on how former Red Sox pitchers are playing this season.
It has been nearly two years since the Red Sox traded Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics, after failing to offer the two-time World Series winner a legitimate contract.
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Then, in 2015, Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. And this year, Lester has boasted numbers that show he is nothing short of dominant, and one of the best pitchers in baseball.
He currently has a record of 9-3, with a 2.10 ERA, the seventh lowest in the league. He has the thirteenth highest number of strikeouts (99), the tenth lowest WHIP (1.00), and the eleventh highest WAR (11).
And now, Lester is poised to win a third World Series ring, along with former Red Sox pitcher, John Lackey.
The 37 year-old Lackey was traded by the Red Sox to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014, then signed a two-year $32 million contract with the Cubs in 2015.
This year, Lackey too, has been stellar. He has recorded the seventieth lowest ERA in baseball (2.84), a 7-3 record, the fourth lowest WHIP in baseball (0.98), the thirteenth most strikeouts (100), and a WAR for 2.1; not bad for a number three pitcher.
Another former Red Sox pitcher who has recorded phenomenal numbers this year is Rich Hill, who played in Boston from 2010-2012, and again in 2015.
Now with the Oakland Athletics, Hill has recorded a 2.25 ERA, earning a record of 8-3. He has also struck out 74 batters, given up only 16 earned runs, two home runs, 48 hits, and has a WHIP of 1.125.
While Hill has certainly come out of the gate strong, he is currently on the 15-day disabled list, after experiencing groin discomfort. It is not a serious injury, and he is expected to make a minor league start on Monday. Despite this injury, Hill, who is currently under a one-year $6 million, is atop the list of starting pitchers that the Red Sox and other teams may be looking to trade for.
One Red Sox pitcher who had gotten off to a decent season but has been struggling recently is Wade Miley, now of the Seattle Mariners. While he is currently on the 15-day DL after suffering from shoulder inflation, Miley has proven to be somewhat of an asset to the Mariners, earning a 6-3 record in 13 starts. After a strong start to the season, Miley’s ERA has taken a dip, and is currently at 5.28. Miley has pitched 76.2 innings for the Mariners, recording a WHIP of 1.383 and 58 strikeouts.
Now that you’ve been reminded of the Red Sox missing out on Lester, Lackey, and (kind of) Hill I suppose we can take solace in the fact that we may have dodged a bullet on Miley. And while I know that hindsight is always 20/20, the Red Sox have, without question, made many mistakes in letting certain pitchers go. Which, as the signing of David Price has shown, the Red Sox realized, perhaps, too late.
Even if the Red Sox win the pennant, the chances of them beating the Cubs, Mets, Nationals, or Dodger is slim. Why? Pitching, pitching pitching. We need better pitching.