Boston Red Sox: Reject these two non-tendered pitchers
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox could go shopping on the non-tendered player’s list. Two pitchers surfaced that they should avoid.
Christmas shopping time for general managers as the list grows for players that have become available by being jettisoned from their previous team. The usual term is non-tendered and that is essentially a euphemism for simply being fired. The reasoning generally falls into two categories – money and health.
Baseball bodies are fragile in a different way than other sports – a fact that should be apparent when someone heads to the disabled list with a bruised pinky. With baseball all one has to do is slightly alter their hitting or pitching routine and that often leads to a cascade of bad events.
Two names surfaced on the rejection list recently and one – Tyson Ross – was mentioned quite prominently just a season ago as a potential recruit for the Red Sox. The key with Ross is health – when healthy Ross is considered a top of the rotation pitcher.
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In 2015 Ross delivered an fWAR of 4.4, a K/9 of 9.73, xFIP of 3.15, 3.26 ERA and for those with bouts of depression on free passes – Ross had a miserable BB/9 of 3.86. Ross led the National League in walks (84) and wild pitches (14) so one could delicately assess there may be a control issue.
Ross relies primarily on a fastball (58%) and a slider (36%) with a neglected change tossed in for the remainder. Ross also measures in the 90s (93.1 MPH) with his heater. Ross is also somewhat noted as a ground ball pitcher with a career GB% at 56. The now 29-year-old right-hander looked to solidify his reputation in 2016, but it all crumbled.
The issue was the equivalent of pitcher’s nightmares magnified – shoulder and arm miseries coupled with thoracic surgery. A broken wing that may or may not be ready in 2017 or even 2018. Careers end quickly and Ross may fit that niche.
Is he worth the risk?
In middle age, in baseball years the list is long for pitchers who recovered from disaster and went on to post a remarkable string of respectable seasons. Luis Tiant looked finished in Boston with a 1-7 record in 1971 and when given a second life posted three 20-win seasons. Conversely, the list is equally long for those who never recovered.
Starters are at a premium and Ross will find someone willing to take a risk. That risk as far as monetarily is quite undetermined. The market seems to be willing to reward risk options and Ross is probably at the top of that list along with Nathan Eovaldi.
From my view, there is no need for Boston to consider Ross. The rotation appears rather deep compared to most clubs and there may actually be a level of competition for the fifth spot. The Red Sox could see Clay Buchholz and/or Drew Pomeranz actually work out of the bullpen.
The second member that caught my limited attention span is Rubby De La Rosa, who Red Sox fans recall for his ever so brief stay in the Boston farm system and the parent club. De La Rosa has a magnificent arm, but that arm may now have withered for the 27-year-old right-hander.
As with Ross the prognosis for this observer would also be to pass. If the Red Sox were not as settled in the rotation Rubby would certainly be an attractive pitcher to add to the shopping list. Not now, however. I would also suspect that De La Rosa may have a future in the bullpen rather than the rotation.
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Two that are available, but the risk – reward factor leans mightily on the risk part. Stay away from both.