Projecting the Boston Red Sox 2023/2024 rotation

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: A general view of the stadium as the sun sets before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 22, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: A general view of the stadium as the sun sets before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 22, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 17: (NEW YIRK DAILIES OUT) Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 17: (NEW YIRK DAILIES OUT) Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Can Chris Sale find the magic to lead the Red Sox rotation?

The foundation will start with Chris Sale. That could be the top of the rotation for next season, with Sale on the books for $75 MM through 2025 if a vesting option kicks in. The contract is Sale’s to demonstrate some redemption after a multitude of injuries. This will be pure professional pride on Sale’s part for 2023.

If recovery magic happens and Sale returns to his pre-injury form, the Red Sox rotation has an ace. The question is can Sale adjust if that magic has depreciated a bit? Dipping into Red Sox history, I have a comparison.

Lefty Grove topped the American League in strikeouts seven straight seasons while pitching for the Athletics. Tom Yawkey bought Grove from the cash-strapped A’s, and Grove went 8-8, 6.50 in his first Boston season. Dead arm? Sore shoulder? Age? Take your pick or combine all three.

The following season Grove rebounded and nailed 20 wins and the first of four ERA titles with Boston. The flame-throwing was gone, but the pitching ability was not. Grove won 105 games for Boston and 300 for his Hall of Fame career. Grove adjusted, and so will Sale. If not just more dead money.