Boston Red Sox payroll situation heading into pivotal offseason
By Jacob Anes
Chris Sale: signed through 2024 (owed $30 million next season)
David Price: signed through 2022 (owed $32 million next season)
Nathan Eovaldi: signed through 2022 (owed $17 million next season)
Eduardo Rodriguez: under control through 2021 (arbitration)
Rick Porcello: free agent
Like I said earlier, the starting pitching has been the downfall of this team. The rotation ranks 19th in ERA, 12th in FIP, and 12th in xFIP. While the latter two show there may have been some bad luck, a team trying to repeat needs better starting pitching than that.
Porcello has had a really rough year and is headed towards free agency. While it seems unlikely that the Red Sox bring him back, they may see him as a cheap bounce-back candidate and could bring him back next year. If they choose not to re-sign him, do not expect a big name to fill that 5th spot.
The Red Sox already owe their top 3 starters $79 million before they sign a fith starter and give Rodriguez his contract. You could possibly see Jhoulys Chacin, who is currently on the Red Sox, you could see another cheap free agent, or you could see a minor leaguer.
Given the Red Sox rather thin farm system, the options to take that spot in the minors are thin. The three likely candidates would be Tanner Houck, Kyle Hart or Ryan Weber. Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez are options too but they have proved at this point that they do not belong in a contending team’s rotation. Houck and Hart probably offer more upside than Weber as the Red Sox got a pretty good look at Weber in the majors this season.
The realistic free agent options for the Red Sox include Tanner Roark, Jordan Lyles, and Jason Vargas. It helps to get Porcello off the books, but if they want a serviceable replacement, they will likely cost $6 or $7 million and clearing that money will not really be as important as it may seem. If this group remains healthy, it should be a rather formidable one.