Red Sox: Five questions for the 2017 season

Sep 24, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jul 20, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (31) pitches during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 20, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz (31) pitches during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

The Red Sox have arguably the best trio of starting pitchers in baseball. 10 All-Star appearances and two CY Young Awards between Rick Porcello, David Price, and Chris Sale is as elite as it comes. There is nothing to be concerned about when it comes to the top, but there is still uncertainty regarding the back end of rotation.

Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright, and Eduardo Rodriguez are the viable options to start the year in the 4 and 5 holes in the Red Sox rotation, but each come with their own individual concerns.

Pomeranz looked like a totally different pitcher than he was in San Diego after coming over in a trade at the deadline. His All-Star performance in the first half was nowhere to be found following the deal, as he compiled a 4.78 ERA in 13 starts with the Red Sox. He received a stem-cell injection in his throwing elbow shortly after the season ended. The procedure was experimental, adding another element of concern.

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Steven Wright also made the trip to the Midsummer Classic for the Red Sox, before suffering a shoulder injury that derailed his season while making a questionable appearance as a pinch-runner. The injury suffered in August has prevented Wright from fully regaining the movement needed to properly slot his arm in his delivery. According to John Farrell, Wright’s on track to be ready for Spring Training. Because he’s a knuckleballer, the cause for concern isn’t as high as it would be for a conventional pitcher, but an injury to his throwing arm should be paid attention to nevertheless.

Then there’s Eduardo Rodriguez. At just 23 he’s shown the type of promise that warrants consideration for a role in the top-3 of most major league rotations. But also the inconsistency that could have him starting the year in Pawtucket. Despite his overall struggles in 2016, he pitched well over his final 9 starts, compiling a 3.28 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 49.1 innings pitched. He also tweaked his plant knee – an injury that had previously kept him out for the first two months of the season – during winter ball in Venezuela. All eyes will be on him as he plays in the World Baseball Classic.