Insider slams door shut on Red Sox's longshot pursuits of star free agent pitchers

Oct 28, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) leads the
Oct 28, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (52) leads the / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Two top-tier free-agent pitchers remain on the market, and despite being in desperate need of an experienced arm, the Red Sox refuse to sign either of them.

Alex Speier of The Boston Globe has reported Boston is unwilling to ink long-term deals for either Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell -- something we knew but didn't have this kind of confirmation to validate the feeling.

From the beginning of the offseason, the front office asserted that starting pitching would be a high priority for the Red Sox — and singing a quality starting arm would be on Boston's only path to fielding a competitive team.

Montgomery and Snell are the best options remaining in terms of starters, but even a desperate Sox fan can admit that the deals they're looking for are a bit much, not necessarily in terms of price, but in the overall commitment.

Red Sox reporter says Boston is unwilling to make a deal with Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell

It's been reported that Snell and his agent, Scott Boras, who also represents Montgomery, have been in search of a nine-year, $270 million deal. The Yankees are allegedly the only team that has made Snell a formal offer, and it was over $100 million less than his rumored asking price.

No team will sign Snell for the nine years he's been requesting. As a two-time Cy Young award winner, Snell's services are highly coveted, but at the age of 31, a nine-year commitment is a huge ask, especially for his price.

Montgomery is also asking for long-term security, but his request has been more reasonable than Snell's. It's been reported that Montgomery is looking for at least six years, $162 million. Also 31 years old, signing Montgomery for six years would still be a tad risky for any club, especially factoring in that he's never been considered an "ace" before this offseason.

Teams may force Montgomery and Snell to take shorter, less expensive contracts by playing the waiting game. Given that pitchers and catchers are slated to report in just over two weeks, that possibility inches closer to reality with each passing day.

The Red Sox have been named the best fit for Montgomery many times by multiple experts. And while Speier has reported Boston is unlikely to make a deal with the left-hander, he may become desperate in the coming weeks. Or maybe the months of criticism from Red Sox Nation will finally get through the front office's head.

Boston needs another experienced starting pitcher in its rotation, and converting most of its relievers to starters won't get the job done. But committing to a 31-year-old pitcher for six or nine years wouldn't be the wisest move, either. Sadly, beggars can't be choosers.

If the market for Montgomery continues to stall to the point that he lowers his asking price, the Red Sox should be first in line for the hurler's signature. But if it doesn't, Sox fans are going to have to settle for converted relievers in 2024.

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