No. 4: Chris Sale
Sale’s demise over the past half-decade has been disheartening, and it’s looking like he could be a back-of-the-rotation arm in 2024. Quite simply, injuries have hindered the back half of the southpaw’s career, holding him to just 31 games over the last four seasons.
Despite his numerous absences, Sale has flashed potential when healthy. His slider continued to look nasty in 2023, inducing a 29.1 percent put-away rate. Meanwhile, he ranked near the top of the league with his 33.6 percent chase rate and 29.4 percent strikeout rate. In case it wasn’t clear, the 34-year-old is still capable of missing bats.
No. 5: Eric Lauer
Nick Pivetta is a candidate for the fifth spot and will ultimately remain in the rotation if the Red Sox have a quieter offseason. However, we’re projecting a “dream” scenario here, and in a perfect world, Pivetta shifts to the bullpen as a reliable multi-inning reliever.
Lauer is an ideal target for the Red Sox because of his upside. As mentioned last week, there’s a chance that Lauer could return to being a very talented starter if he’s healthy and throws his slider a lot more. He also comes dirt cheap. If signing Lauer pays off, he’s viewed as a steal who can make key contributions down the stretch. If it doesn’t work out, Boston can easily cut its losses and pivot back to Pivetta.