Red Sox Rumors: Zack Godley emerging as free agent target

The Red Sox are rumored to be interested in Zack Godley.

The Boston Red Sox are among multiple teams pursuing free-agent pitcher Zack Godley and have a legitimate chance to sign him, according to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo.

The right-hander has five years of major league experience spent primarily with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Godley owns a career 37-30 record and 4.68 ERA, although his 4.13 FIP indicates he’s pitched better than his ERA suggests.

The 30-year-old flashed plenty of potential during his breakout 2017 season when he owned a 3.37 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9.

Godley’s career took a step back the following year due to some control issues. He produced a 4.1 BB/9 while leading the league with 12 hit by pitches and 17 wild pitches. Command has never been his calling card but Godley’s previous track record shows he’s not nearly as wild as he showed in 2018.

Last year his control was moderately better but his strikeout rate plummeted to a career-low 6.8 K/9. Arizona tried moving him to the bullpen following a brutal start to the season but they ultimately ended of designating him for assignment in August.

The Toronto Blue Jays scooped him up off waivers and he finished the year by carving out a modest role in their bullpen, posting a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings down the stretch.

Godley signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers which included incentives that potentially would have added up to $3 million. The Tigers released him on Monday once they determined he wouldn’t crack their rotation to open the season.

A pitcher who has struggled the last two years and wasn’t deemed worthy of a rotation spot on one of the worst teams in the majors isn’t exactly inspiring. Beggars can’t be choosers though. Boston’s rotation is dangerously thin as the regular season rapidly approaches so any starting pitcher with a pulse is worth kicking the tires on.

Chris Sale is out for the year and de facto No. 1 starter Eduardo Rodriguez remains away from the team while recovering from COVID-19. Nathan Eovaldi is the likely Opening Day starter despite coming off a dismal season and he’ll be followed by Martin Perez, an underwhelming veteran who the Red Sox found in the bargain bin last winter. The state of the rotation is so dire that fans are trying to talk themselves into Ryan Weber being a viable No. 3 starter.

Godley isn’t a sexy option but no pitcher available less than two weeks before Opening Day is going to inspire much confidence. He could continue his trend from the last two years by being a complete bust but at least he has some upside considering he’s done it at this level before. That’s more than we can say about some of the other back of the rotation options on this club.

If Boston does land Godley, expect it to be a short-term incentive laden deal similar to what he signed with Detroit, only prorated for this 60-game season. It’s hard to imagine him being much worse than his competition for the fourth or fifth slot in the rotation but if he doesn’t pan out, it shouldn’t cost them much.

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On the other hand, if Godley rediscovers some semblance of command and improves his strikeout rate back to his career level of nearly a batter per inning, he could end up being a bargain signing who can help stabilize Boston’s floundering rotation.