Previewing the 2023 Boston Red Sox rotation
The Red Sox rotation could swing high or low
The Red Sox rotation is now set at least until spring training begins if you look at their current depth chart. Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, and Michael Wacha have been cut from the herd, and management has expressed no genuine desire for a reunion. Slowly they drift away. Just another roster-free agency divorce.
Names have been bandied about with a shirking list of available arms. As have a few others, Seth Lugo has had his 15 minutes of Red Sox rumors until signing with the Padres. Chaim Bloom will sign a few more pitchers who may be known only to their agents, families, and those too meshed in metrics that therapy and medications will not help.
So let’s take a peek at the names projected with the assumption that roster shifts will happen. Time for baseball, not the never-ending drama of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. That said, the big divider will be spring training, where a breakdown will happen, a youngster will shine, and a veteran may surprise. Here are the projected five.
Is Chris Sale David Price redux?
What will $60 MM over two years get you? In baseball, it got the Red Sox 48.1 innings from lefty Chris Sale. Sale is now 34 years old and on the cusp of joining that pantheon of bad Red Sox contracts. In 2022 Sale became a diagnostic tool for a legion of resident orthopedic specialists. Pick a body part, and Sale found a way to injure it.
Trying to discover a positive in Sale’s 5.2 innings tossed is the heater is back. Sale checked in at 94.5 MPH, and his devastating slider tipped the radar at 79.2 MPH. Both those numbers align with his Boston salad days of 2017-2018. And remember his change to top off a solid three-pitch nightmare delivered with precision.
Sale has some serious professional pride to deal with as he attempts to reinvigorate his career, which will be – at least from my perspective – a motivator. If the speed factor holds, Sale will not have to reinvent himself.
The significant lifeline for Sale will be a rebuilt bullpen, so going deep into games such as seven+ innings will not be mandatory. The smart move is to keep Sale under 200 innings and away from being among the league leaders in pitches tossed. With his competitive nature harnessing Sale will be a task for manager Alex Cora.
I expect Sale to be what they need, an Ace to lead a rotation awash in question marks and concerns, especially Sale himself. Sale has much to prove and prevent the Red Sox from looking at a David Price contract providing rumors of his possible departure are merely off-season fluff.