Red Sox: The 2022 rotation preview and possible options

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, 32, pitching in the second inning against the Orioles during a Florida Complex League (FCL) rookie-level Minor League Baseball league on Thursday, July 15, 2021, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.Flsar 071621 Sp Bbasale 02
Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, 32, pitching in the second inning against the Orioles during a Florida Complex League (FCL) rookie-level Minor League Baseball league on Thursday, July 15, 2021, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida.Flsar 071621 Sp Bbasale 02 /

Possible building blocks for a Red Sox revamped 2022 rotation

The Boston Red Sox avoided any additions to their rotation in the latest July deadline deals scrum. Red Sox passivity was the polar opposite of the Toronto Blue Jays, who shored up their rotation and bullpen. Boston did secure a left-handed power bat that the supposed game plan has Kyle Schwarber to play first base, thus ending that void in the lineup.

The fervent hope among Red Sox Nation was a prioritization of pitching. José Berríos represented an elegant option, but the Jays pounced. Either the Red Sox lacked the prospect haul needed or were reluctant to part with the possible future for the present. So just what awaits on the rotation for 2022? Never too late to look forward instead of backward.

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Boston will be out $1 MM after the season when right-hander Garrett Richards receives his farewell package. Richards is nearing the bottom of the slide as performance levels have continued to erode.

Richards will have company. Martin Peréz has displayed moments of pitching stability and, unfortunately for the lefty moments, ever-increasing moments of the pitching macabre. Peréz is what he is and the bottom feeder on the rotation material.

Richards and Peréz will depart unless some miraculous pitching resurrection occurs in the next sixty or so games. An unlikely scenario. That reduces the number of candidates for 2022.

A third possible addition is right-hander Nick Pivetta. Pivetta was a legitimate steal from Philadelphia, who has contributed mightily to the rotation. That said, the Pivetta of the last few months has shown just why the Phillies gave up on him  But as a back-end starter, Pivetta is less risky than Richards and Peréz.

The last and straightforward winner of the most disappointing title is lefty Eduardo Rodríguez. E-Rod’s role was to pick up as if 2020 didn’t exist. A back to the future with the future being his sturdy and steady 2019 season.

Rodríquez will be a free agent and has tossed away a boatload of money with a dismal season, but teams are willing to take risks on questionable pitching as Boston did with Richards. Most certainly, internet ink will flow with the Rodríguez situation.

Chris Sale is the potential ace of the staff. After two years of sitting, Sale will soon take to the hill, and the expectations are he will anchor the 2022 rotation. Sale will have competition in the mine is better than yours in the slider department.

Tanner Houck impresses. And he does have a killer slider. Houck is as rare as francium. He represents that rarest of pitching metals – a Red Sox team drafted and developed starter. The upside for Houck is undoubtedly present, and expectations are high. Houck will be accompanied by another righty – Nathan Eovaldi.

Eovaldi has earned his salary this season. A stabilizing force in the rotation and an All-Star. With Eovaldi, the specter of arm issues is in the dark recesses of potential negatives. That makes three. If this were the Red Sox of 1902, a three-man rotation would be ideal. But baseball has changed.

Boston needs depth and quality depth in their rotation. The farm system has generated orthopedic surgeons paradise with Tommy John Surgeries and elbow issues to the best of the best in the prospect stash. Improvement may be just a checkbook away, or is it?

The free-agent list has notable names, with Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer the most impressive. The list contains the usual high-end risk versus reward – arms that were once not as frayed as they are now. Knowing Chaim Bloom as a bargain hunter extraordinaire, that list is probably memorized and updated daily. Red Sox fans may see a 2022 rendition of Ricards and Perez – different names, uniform numbers, and probably the same results.

The Red Sox are certainly not novices at trading for pitching talent. Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Rick Porcello, and Sale contributed mightily to championships. Trade could represent a viable alternative, and for me, there are four targets I have selected.

One must consider the source and their willingness to depart with talent. Teams that are in a perpetual state of flux are concerned about arbitration and free agency. Say hello to the Colorado Rockies and right-hander German Márquez.

The Rocks and fire sale have become synonymous, and right-hander Márquez is downright nasty. Márquez’s contract is signed and sealed through 2024. He has survived Coors Field with almost equal aplomb as on the road. Márquez checks all the boxes and even has a Silver Slugger Award. Márquez will be 29-years-old next season and is worth the long look to see just what it would take.

The Miami Marlins have one of the rising pitching stars in Trevor Rogers. Rogers would take the maximum amount of inventiveness to be pried loose of the Marlins. An undoubtedly steep price. Rogers admittedly may represent a fanciful pipe dream for me, but one can dream of another lefty that could match Sale’s talent.

Now to take it down a notch to more reasonable expectations. The Twins engaged in semi housekeeping at the deadline, and righty Kenta Maeda’s name surfaced. Maeda would be the cheaper option, and cheap is also his contract. The following two seasons at just $3.125. I’m not too fond of walks, and Maeda has just a career 7.0 BB%. Nice arm for the middle of the rotation.

The Cincinnati Reds have a durable righty in Luis Castillo. Castillo tossed his fastball and sinker curve at the same speed (97.4 MPH). Toss in a change and curve, and Castillo is can mix it up. The former All-Star will be 29-years-old next season and into arbitration 2. The Reds may wish to avoid a potentially hefty price tag and deal.

Next. What Kyle ASchwarber brings to Boston. dark

I mentioned just four on my target list. The Red Sox are reluctant to part with prospects, but situations and availability can modify that. Realistically, Márquez, Maeda, and Castillo could be worth a gamble – pitching is always a gamble. Add any two into the 2022 rotation, and Boston would be solid.