Red Sox Rumors: Veteran duo find themselves on Boston’s pitching radar
Red Sox eyeing free agents Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill
As the Winter Meetings have come and gone and things begin to take shape for the upcoming season, the Red Sox will begin their plan of attack for 2021. The top issue on the docket should be starting pitching and where the hell they can find some. The free-agent market is riddled with a slew of pitchers running the gamut from aces to veterans and quality to questionable. Unless Chaim Bloom is going to work the phones and make some trade magic this winter, this is the crop that he’ll have to choose from.
Today some news came to light as Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox have turned their sights to Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill. A pair of Massachusetts natives that are looking for their next club and next opportunity to make their move in the Majors. I previously wrote about Boston not taking a look at Jon Lester as being a baffling move, but today’s news may be why.
Both Hill and Odorizzi pitched in the COVID shortened 2020 season though to different results. Hill, 40, tossed an impressive 38.2 innings this season which earned him a 2-2 record and 3.03 ERA. What may be the most impressive parts of his campaign came in the way of his WHIP (1.164), BB/9 (7.2), and K/9 (7.2) While the K/9 was one of the lowest of his career the WHIP and BB/9 were two of the best in his career.
Despite his age, Hill’s ability to command his arsenal and get the job done when called upon will make him a desirable target for Chaim Bloom. Add in his low salary hit and he may as well be making his way to Fenway Park as we speak. Interestingly enough, if he did receive a deal and accepted, it would be his third time with the franchise and he could likely do some of his best work.
For Odorizzi, 2020 was a throwaway year as a chest contusion ate away much of his season, and then a blister took away much of the rest. However, for the righty, he’s going to earn his next deal for what he did in 2019 and not so much what he didn’t do in 2020. Odo’s previous campaign was strong enough to earn him a Player of the Week Award as well as an All-Star nod. He finished 2019 at 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA through 159IP. He also tallied an insane balance of a 10.1 K/9 with a 3.0 BB/9.
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Like I said before, Odorizzi’s 2020 stats (0-1/6.59/13.2) aren’t going to earn him a new contract this winter, it’s all about that sweet 2019. The soon to be 31-year-old right-hander is more than capable of getting the damn thing done and can be a major asset to Alex Cora in this starting rotation. If he’s healthy and can go as he did back in 2019, then I think it’s a no-brainer that the Red Sox sit down at the table with him and talk turkey.
Speaking of the current starting rotation, let’s take a gander at that mess. Chris Sale is targeting a summer return while Eduardo Rodriguez says he’ll be ready to rock by Opening Day. Nathan Eovaldi is the lone right-handed guarantee, though, Nick Pivetta and Tanner Houck both shined for the Red Sox in 2020 and could tilt the scales in favor of the righties. Adding Hill could balance things while Odorizzi would shift things to a righty heavy rotation.
With Chaim Bloom at the helm of the front office, I have little to no doubt that he and his team are cinching every number possible to make sure they don’t head to the wrong path. We all know that the Red Sox are targeting pitching as their primary focus this offseason as it’s going to be the biggest key to their success or failure in 2021. Both Odorizzi and Hill offer a chance at success though in different ways. For Bloom and Boston, it’s going to come down to the right arm at the right price and the rest of the chips will fall from there.