Red Sox possibilities for 2018 from the baseball landfill
By Rick McNair
In 2013, left-hander Jeff Locke was an All-Star and also led the National League in walks. Locke finished 2013 with a 4.5 BB/9 and in 2017 had a 4.2 BB/9. Now Locke has chosen the free agent route and is available for bidders. The point is will anyone bid and is Locke even worth it?
The basics for Locke is a four-pitch selection of a fastball, slider, curve, and change. Locke still maintains an FB velocity a notch above 90 MPH. Locke’s GB% (ground ball percent) has steadily dropped until it is now 46.8% and what is always in the background is arm issues. Locke signed for 2016 with Miami and spent time on the DL, but examinations showed no arm damage.
Being a lefty always gets an extra look from teams and at 29-years-old there is always the possibility that a 3.52 ERA in 2013 that increased each season to top out at 8.16 in 2017 will reverse. Locke was pictured as a possible ace or at least a solid number two starter in Pittsburgh for the 2014 season, but poor performance resulted in a trip to the minors.
The Red Sox are lefty-heavy at the MLB level and with the disappointing Henry Owens and Brian Johnson still on the roster. Locke has traditionally been a starter and that route may be closing rapidly based on his checkered MLB career. As a New Hampshire native, the Red Sox may have an appeal if Locke is pursued by them.