Red Sox Rumors: Boston unlikely to pursue top-line starting pitchers
By Sean Penney
Dave Dombrowski threw a bucket of cold water on any rumors that the Boston Red Sox could pursue a top of the rotation starter before the trade deadline.
Teams are always on the lookout to add pitching and the Boston Red Sox are no different. Just don’t expect them to pay a high price looking for a significant upgrade.
BoSox Injection’s Daniel Cassese recently outlined the appeal of acquiring Sonny Gray. The case for pursuing Gray stemmed from a report from Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan that the Red Sox had been scouting the Oakland A’s starter.
It may be time to pump the breaks on the concept of trading for Gray – or any top of the rotation caliber starting pitcher. At least based on the comments Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made to reporters, per Masslive’s Christopher Smith.
"“Unlike some other clubs, I don’t believe we need to add a top of the rotation-type starter. We have (Chris) Sale. I think David Price continues to make strides. … His stuff is good. (Drew) Pomeranz has thrown well for us. (Eduardo) Rodriguez has thrown well. We know Rick Porcello is a good pitcher. We just have to straighten him out. So maybe other clubs are looking for that No. 1, No. 2 type starter. That’s not really important for us. I think it’s more important to be in a position where we add depth for us and somebody that can help us win major league games.”"
Boston entered the season prepared to unleash a three-headed monster to lead their rotation. Chris Sale has been everything they could have hoped for. David Price is still rounding into form after missing most of the season, but at least his velocity is back to where it should be. We know that reigning Cy Young Rick Porcello is capable of being better than this. Eduardo Rodriguez could return from the disabled list soon.
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The Red Sox have quality starting pitching when everyone is healthy and performing to expectations. What sense does it make to surrender coveted assets to trade for Gray, who has struggled to stay healthy and pitch anywhere near what he’s capable of over the last two seasons?
Gray was an All-Star in 2015 and finished third in Cy Young voting. Since then he’s made only 33 starts over parts of two seasons, posting an 8-14 record with a 5.25 ERA. Are we sure he’d be an upgrade over what the Red Sox currently have when at full strength?
The biggest weakness in the rotation has been filling the back end of an injury ravaged rotation. Boston only briefly had all five of their top starters healthy at the same time, forcing them to cycle through spot starters essentially all year.
Doug Fister is the latest reclamation project to be given a shot. He delivered a quality start, albeit in a losing effort, in his team debut. If he doesn’t pan out, or if the rotation suffers another injury, the Red Sox could go shopping for another low cost option of similar ilk.
You don’t cash in your chips for an elite pitcher when all you need is a serviceable No. 5 starter.
Dombrowski is banking on his proven veterans to start pitching to their potential. They already have their ace in Sale, while slotting Price and Porcello behind him gives the Red Sox the most fearsome trio in the league if the latter two reclaim their previous form.
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The priority at the trade deadline will be upgrading the black hole at third base and finding another reliable bullpen arm. Dombrowski is known for making splashy moves, but don’t expect him to mortgage more of the future in order to add another ace.