Red Sox: With the loss of David Price also comes opportunity
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox are now faced with the age old baseball problem – pitching. With pitching you simply never have enough.
Pitching is the one baseball item that you never seem to have enough of. Pitchers can be a very strange breed in baseball as few display remarkable consistency. When you have an abundance of pitching it is often wise to hold on for as long as possible. With injuries, they are often unpredictable and can come in batches like seagulls to a landfill. In 2009 the rotation simply imploded.
The bad news for the Red Sox, Red Sox Nation and especially David Price is his arm issue. This has surfaced in the past, but this spring the intensity set in motion the utmost concern when 235 innings and 17 wins may just evaporate. The domino impact will reverberate through the entire staff as more reliance may be placed on the bullpen and that certainly has risks associated with it.
Just what do you do? There is certainly a few warm pitching bodies available as noted on this list by MLB Trade Rumors. Trading for additional arms is always a possibility, but with that comes a premium price tag since other teams can scent desperation. What this really provides is an opportunity and not just from within the organization.
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Players in the minors – players of promise or veterans hanging on – have a routine and that is checking the daily transactions and following what may surface via the rumor mill circuit. In today’s media savvy environment word around the campfires passes quickly. Players constantly check regarding who is being released, has suddenly displayed a level of incompetence that makes him vulnerable and the most important is a sudden injury. All present potential opportunity.
Misfortune for one player could present an opportunity for another, be it a humble farm hand or a veteran signed with just this possible fortification in the GM’s mind – just think Sean O’Sullivan. The Red Sox have already added a few veteran arms to provide for possible need. Kyle Kendrick has won 81 games in his MLB career and the 32-year-old right-hander is joined by Mexican League veteran Hector Velazquez.
The Red Sox also have Henry Owens and Brian Johnson with a fresh look available thanks to Price. Both have been about as impressive as I would be on Dancing with the Stars. Both are former number one draft choices who are borderline being shipped elsewhere – that may be on hold.
The remains of the rotation also have the opportunity and with opportunity comes the potential for a boatload of money if your performance justified it. Eduardo Rodriguez impressed in the second half of 2016 and certainly has pitching potential. Drew Pomeranz can now potentially settle into a rotation spot despite a horrendous Fenway Park record.
There is an opportunity for both Pomeranz and E-Rod. It is there for the taking. Neither will be Price, but if either can give you a solid six the loss can be minimized. For Owens and Johnson, the next few weeks could signify their MLB future.
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When you are forced to go to question marks and that is what possibly faces Boston then the outlook certainly is not as rosy as having a Price and his inning-eating – with quality – talent available for an entire season. With Price out the lower end of the Red Sox rotation could be a nightmare not on Elm Street, but on Yawkey Way. That, however, can be mitigated if someone fills the void with a level of competency. If not, a very long season awaits.