The Boston Red Sox may soon have an upgrade in pitching with the possible return of knuckleballer Steven Wright for the World Series roster.
The Boston Red Sox are contemplating the addition of right-handed knuckleball master Steven Wright to the World Series roster. Wright has missed the first two rounds due to a re-occurrence of knee issues that have hampered his career the last few seasons.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora will make a final decision after Wright participates in baseball activities that will test out his knee. Wright will engage in fielding drills and pitch in a simulated game to see if his recovery has advanced enough to be included on the World Series roster.
"“I heard that he feels good about it,” Cora said. “He threw a bullpen the other day. We’ll talk to him first and see where he’s at. And if he feels he can contribute, then he has to go through a few tests,” Alex Cora told reporters, per Masslive.com."
A healthy Wright would most certainly represent a significant upgrade in the Red Sox pitching options against the free-swinging Dodgers who collectively whiffed 1,436 times in 2018. Wright’s knuckleball is quite capable of creating a frustration index and would offer a significant change of look if sandwiched between the hard-throwing Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel.
Wright would assume a relief role and is quite capable at giving multiple innings when necessary. In 2018 Wright was 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA in 25.2 innings of relief. Combined for the season Wright was 3-1 and a 2.68 ERA in 53.2 innings. Just who would go to make room?
The most vulnerable would be right-hander Brandon Workman who has made two postseason appearances with results that certainly leave significant room for improvement. In just one inning Workman has allowed five earned runs and walked two, A second option could be right-hander Heath Hembree who has allowed no earned runs in three appearances but has walked four in 3.2 innings.
"“I have to make a humble self evaluation because it comes down to, I do want to pitch, but if there’s any uncertainty it’s not worth it for the team to try to pitch through something and have it start acting up again,” Wright told the Boston Herald."
The Red Sox maneuvering may also mean a position player is removed and 12 pitchers are carried especially with the potential for three games in Los Angles and the use of National League rules. My assumption is Cora will remain with what has been successful and keep an 11 man staff when rosters are announced.
If Wright is deemed ready for duty this will be a significant upgrade for the bullpen especially if there is a repeat of the 13 inning marathon that happened between the Brewers and Dodgers. A healthy Wright is a proven commodity and a worthy addition to the staff.