A preview of potential free-agent pitchers for the Boston Red Sox
While checking in at MLB’s web site, an article caught my attention – a shiny keys article – since it mentioned each team’s potential free agents with the word biggest in the title. For the Red Sox, it is Jackie Bradley jr. and an old friend Kevin Pillar – the Rockies anointed one in the article.
There is an interesting blend of talent and I would certainly not object to a DJ LeMahieu, Marcell Ozuna, or even George Springer in a Boston lineup, but our needs are certainly not offense unless Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez either collectively or individually depart. It is all about pitching and some of what is available.
Marcus Stroman is on the sidelines this season as he chooses to opt-out so his last notable work is 2019 when be split his time between Toronto (6-11, 2.96) and the Mets (4-2, 3.77). The diminutive right-hander (5’7”) is quite familiar with the American League East from having the bulk of his career in Toronto.
Stroman is somewhat unusual since he will blend five and sometimes six different pitches into a game with his two and four-seam fastball in the 93 MPH range. Stroman works his other pitches off those two with excellent control – a career 2.6 BB/9. Stroman is not a swing and miss hurler but what stands out is a career 58.6 GB%. Stroman is also excellent defensively and once won a Gold Glove Award.
Just what the market will be for Stroman is difficult to determine based on his being absent this season. This season Stroman was scheduled to receive $12 MM – certainly a fair value based on his two teams 3.9 fWAR for 2019. At 29-years-old Stroman may be worth a long look for the Red Sox.
Sean Doolittle will be 34-years-old next season and the lefty has been consistently a solid performer with Oakland and the Nationals. Doolittle is quite capable of multi-tasking out of the bullpen and does have 111 career saves (84%). Boston has never been one to overspend for their bullpen and with Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez as portsiders, I would expect a pass on the durable Doolittle.
What a season to crash and burn for Kirby Yates who led the National League in saves in 2019 (41). But the crash was injury-related and Yates can build up value in the playoffs, but I doubt Boston will open the coffers for righty Yates.
Right-hander Ian Kennedy along with Joba Chamberlain (remember him?) was supposed to be the future of the Yankees rotation. Kennedy did deliver 21 wins but it was for Arizona and eventually a big free-agent contract with the normally sensible Royals. This has avoided at all costs stamped on it.
Right-hander Chris Archer has a healthy $9 MM option that the Pirates could pick up and I also could be named People’s Sexiest Man of the Year. I probably stand a better chance. Archer has missed the 2020 season with thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and he will certainly be a bargain after 3-9 in 2019. Maybe his old boss Chaim Bloom will want to reunite with the high strung Archer? If so, then have David Price return. A real reunion.
Lefty Jose Quintana never quite got to the level expected when the Cubs brought him crosstown from the White Sox. Quintana is a mid-rotation arm that will keep you in the ballgame. A slightly ( maybe) more proficient version of Martin Perez.
Quintana will mix in a three-pitch selection – fastball, curve, and change with the heater not breaking the sound barrier (91.6). Quintana has exhibited excellent control with a career 2.5 BB/9 but has been touched up by the long ball in both Chicago parks. He’ll be a fine addition to a staff, but not in Boston.