Red Sox News: Nick Pivetta, Eduardo Rodriguez, Tanner Houck updates
The Boston Red Sox provided updates on three pitchers.
In MLB today there is a linkage between the calendar and service time. Service time is the days spent on an MLB roster and it becomes a deciding factor as a player accumulates roster time. Naturally, management attempts to manipulate this system as much as possible and the Boston Red Sox are no exception. The latest is right-hander Nick Pivetta acquired in a trade with the Phillies.
As Alex Speier explains in a Boston Globe article, the Red Sox keeping Pivetta anchored in the alternate training site has created a service time roadblock that ensures he is under team control through 2024. Of course, the real issue is all on Pivetta who had had checkered results in his career (19-30, 5.50). If Pivatta keeps on producing those numbers his shelf life in Boston could be rather short.
To continue on the pitching front, the condition of Eduardo Rodriguez was discussed by manager Ron Roenicke, as reported by Ian Browne of MLB.com. Rodriguez was done for 2020 based on a heart ailment that was linked to contacting COVID-19. Much of the rehabilitation planning is on the table for pitching coach Dave Bush who stressed the fact the Red Sox may have to limit Rodriguez’s workload in 2021. The assumption being Rodriguez will be ready to resume training.
"“For a guy like Eduardo Rodriguez, 200 innings last year and zero this year, we’re still figuring out exactly what we can expect from him next year and what’s a reasonable amount so he can pitch and be part of the rotation,” said Bush."
The last bit of pitching information was gleaned by the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato from conversations with CBO Chaim Bloom regarding right-hander Tanner Houck, but drifted into a general philosophy on development and roster construction. Bloom mentioned a “Big Picture” approach where development is necessary instead of rushing an unfinished product to the Big Club.
Looking at the three selections above, you can shift through and make a guess – an educated one – on the Red Sox approach. The first is they see something in Pivetta that the Phillies did not nor do I. Pivetta has the raw talent and it is just partially refined. No real consistency in start-to-start, but if the Red Sox have uncovered a secret sauce in Pivetta’s mechanics they may have a trading coup where one did not exist.
When discussing heart ailments it is a serious and the Red Sox are quite cautious and I am sure E-Rod is also. The Red Sox do have a somewhat negative history of treatment and should exercise all caution. The team is not setting in stone a return of the 19 game-winner from 2019 and I hope this is not going to be a situation similar to another pitching talent of the past – J.R. Richard.
Pitching coach Bush – if he is even here in 2021 – is focused on the physical aspect of getting Rodriguez who has a history of injuries into a program to build him up to be able to toss the needed quality innings. Chris Sale may be down until the end of May and if Rodriguez is in a similar situation the rotation may be a repeat of the 2020 wreck. Is management preparing us for bad news?
"“There is one guy, in particular, I can think of that we’ve been building towards hopefully getting him an opportunity before the end of the year.” Chaim Bloom on a possible 2020 surprise."
The Red Sox development is one not to rush the product which is an easy approach when your team is going nowhere. Patience was shown with Houck and I assume the same will apply to players we would love to see – Jeter Downs, Jarren Duran, and Bryan Mata. All three could be of value in the next few years with Downs the possible second baseman of the future, Duran a projected outfielder, and Mata a steady hand in the rotation. Bloom is not rushing the product – his “Big Picture.” Maybe one of the three will be Bloom’s “surprise?”