Red Sox: A future without left-handed starter David Price

Sep 7, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox future for the season may depend on the status of David Price. What if he fails? Maybe the correct path is to do nothing.

The Boston Red Sox rotation has a gaping hole that may be plugged in the next few weeks by our pitching answer to the little Dutch boy – David Price. What happens if that tender $217 Million elbow says ‘No Mas?” The accepted wisdom is the Red Sox will be in dire straits and not the tunesmith version. So in the best tradition of the whimsical Mad Magazine – “What, me worry?”

Being an ingrained iconoclast or is it Curmudgeon I will go against conventional wisdom and say the correct path is to do absolutely nothing. No Jose Quintana or Julio Teheran. No nationwide search for a team’s sloppy seconds that may see Rafael Devers sent packing for a tire with a few thousand miles of tread left on it. Ignore the talented, but perpetually traded Zack Greinke.

The Red Sox staff collectively sits in first place in the American League according to Fangraphs. The starters rank number one, despite the absence of Steven Wright and Price. Toss in the return to earth by Rick Porcello and a revolving door at number five and the numbers are surprising. So what is on the pitching platter right now?

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Rick Porcello is what he has always been and that is a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. Deep into games with the ability to keep it close. Then comes the mysterious Drew Pomeranz and the fact is the team is 5-4 in his nine starts. Basically, our recyclable is more valuable than the opponents.

What happens to number five?

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Can you win with – to paraphrase and old Joe Louis catch-all – “The Bum of the Start Club.” So far the rehearsals have mixed results. Kyle Kendrick should be heading for retirement as he showed nothing. Hector Velazquez is back in Pawtucket. To blow a hole in my argument the two represent a 0-3 record and an ERA that caused my calculator to fizzle. That is three potential wins tossed into the shredder.

The bright spot is Brian Johnson, who pitched a gem of a shutout. In two starts Johnson has survived against the Jays for a win and now picked up a second win. I would certainly feel comfortable with another few shots for Johnson if Price has arm issues or the jitters. This is a risk, but the options outside the system are limited unless you wish to toss away a few remaining prospects of merit.

The last remaining option internally is (gasp) Henry Owens. Owens is pitching reasonably well with Pawtucket, but, yes – the usual has surfaced once again. On last examination, Owens had a 6.5 BB/9. The rest of the starters at Pawtucket offer no option.

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What it comes down to from my view is to cement the bottom of the rotation without Price is just not practical. The cost in prospect talent for pitchers who may give you a 50/50 chance of winning is not worth further risk. Just give the ball to Johnson with the idea you may win as many as you lose – and that is acceptable.