Boston Red Sox: Fixing the team in four easy steps

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 04: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning at Fenway Park on September 04, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 04: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning at Fenway Park on September 04, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – AUGUST 28: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #57 of the Boston Red Sox delivers to home plate during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 28, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Step 3: Pitching

As I’ve written about before, all of the Red Sox problems in 2019 stemmed from pitching. The bullpen has been neglected for several years and is a patchwork of guys who aren’t that talented with no defined roles (who the hell is the closer?). However, in 2019 they actually pitched pretty well under the difficult circumstances they were placed in. What really let the entire team down was the starting rotation.

Right now the Red Sox look to start the season with a rotation of Sale, Price, Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Martin Perez. The team has a dismal track record of developing pitchers over the last two decades so there isn’t much relief coming from the minor leagues. Still, going hand in hand with my proposals to trim payroll, the first thing I do is whatever it takes to unload Price, Sale, and Eovaldi.

Those three are all injury prone and at the age where many starting pitchers start their slow and inevitable decline. I love Sale as a competitor and when he is on, he is one of the best pitchers in the game and a pleasure to watch.

Still, he’s broken down in the second half of each of the last three seasons and with his slender frame, unorthodox delivery, and being on the wrong side of thirty his career looks to get worse, not better. Price has overall been durable throughout his career but he’s battled nagging injuries over the last two seasons which have affected his performance and will only get worse as he nears thirty-five.

Eovaldi is the youngest of the bunch at thirty but has also been the most injury-prone. He’s already undergone two Tommy John surgeries as well as his procedure to clear out loose bodies from his elbow in 2019. If it were up to me, I’d do what I could to unload those three which frees up a ton of money and also leaves me with a rotation of…Eduardo Rodriguez and Martin Perez. So now what?

Assuming his 2019 season wasn’t an aberration but is the new norm going forward, I have Rodriguez anchor my staff and try to patch the rest together with Perez, Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, any cheap arms I can get on the open market, and anyone who I can bring up from the minors who I think can cut it (Darwinzon Hernandez?).

Whether that means bringing not-ready-for-primetime guys like Bryan Mata, Jay Groome, Tanner Houck, Durbin Feltman, and Noah Song up and letting them take their lumps at the big league level as starters and/or relievers, I don’t know. Similar to the payroll issue, the Red Sox pitching woes are legion and won’t be easy to solve.

I don’t like this part anymore…let’s keep moving along.