State of the Red Sox as we look ahead to the 2019 season
By Rick McNair
In baseball, it all begins with that little bump in the middle of the infield and that will be an issue as it is every season. Someone will surprise and so will someone fail. The ever-present specter of injuries only complicate the dynamics that is your rotation.
The free agency of Drew Pomeranz will have little in consequences on the staff. Pomeranz was a statistical failure (2-6, 6.08) and will move on, but the core of the rotation remains with David Price and Chris Sale now elevated to equals among equals.
Price has the long-term contract and Sale is in his free agency season, but Sale certainly comes with a huge question mark regarding his shoulder. Sale pitched just 17 innings in the last two months of the season and that raises red flags. As always, depth will be a significant part of the rotation equation.
Rick Porcello is also in the last year of his contract and the durable right-hander made 33 starts and did manage to lead the American League pitchers with the dubious distinction of hitting 16 batters. Porcello most likely can be counted upon for 15+ wins.
The three wild cards in the potential rotation for 2019 are Nathan Eovaldi, Steven Wright, and Eduardo Rodriguez. Eovaldi is a free agent and Red Sox management will do everything possible to sign the postseason stud or face the PR wrath of Red Sox Nation. What the price tag will be is going to be dependent upon the market, but expect Eovaldi to get both years and money somewhere.
Rodriguez (13-5, 3.82) has the “stuff” to be a big-time factor in the rotation providing E-Rod manages to stay healthy. In 2018 it was a quirky tumble at first base that put him on the shelf. And then there is Wright when one speaks of injury. Just what does the knee future hold for Wright? At 34-years-old the right-hander is in his prime years for a knuckleball pitcher.
Brian Johnson is easy to dismiss, but the former number one draft pick did respectable service as a part-time starter (4-3, 4.15) and could be in the mix if injuries and a failure to sign Eovaldi surface. Johnson could also be part of a package deal if the Red Sox feel they have adequate depth.
The Red Sox farm system has no one – at least yet – to be considered a potential addition to the rotation.
Prediction: Red Sox sign Eovaldi