Previewing a potential 2024 Boston Red Sox rotation

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Boston Red Sox v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox pitching rotation is a work in progress or, as a naysayer would say, a lack of progress. They are attempting to find themselves as a unit, and the results could have been spectacular but are lukewarm, and that is being kind.

According to FanGraphs, the Red Sox rotation sits precariously in 14th place in the American League. The Oakland A's are checking in with a -1.7 fWAR and a staff that a talented 3A squad would challenge.

Moves have already been made as manager Alex Cora and, undoubtedly, Chaim Bloom has seen enough. Corey Kluber was brought to town as a noted control perfectionist, and Satchel Paige reportedly could toss a strike over a postage stamp. And Kluber? Suddenly Kluber is channeling Steve Blass.

Nick Pivetta accomplished pitching himself into and out of the rotation. Expect Kluber and Pivetta to be absent from the 2024 staff, and if management has no aversion to dead money, maybe sooner. Openings will exist.

Hopefully, James Paxton has recovered from a string of injuries, and a recent fur ball against the Angels is just a blip and not a flat line. Paxton will finish the season as a Red Sox unless a fire sale commences. Paxton is also on a one-year deal and will be as likely to return as Michael Wacha and Nathan Eovaldi.

The core of the future -- with the future being 2024 -- is partially in place. Chris Sale, Brayan Bello, Tanner Houck, and Garrett Whitlock are solid enough options. Bello has high praise but has the usual rough edges to work out. Bello's FIP (4.95) and ERA (4.08) are the results of the learning stage. What is noticeable about Bello is the 59 GB%.

Preview of the potential Red Sox 2024 rotation.

Sale is back as long as the health remains. and potentially on the payroll for the next two seasons. Houck has fought his way into the rotation, which meant a trip to the 'pen for Kluber. Then there is Kutter Crawford, who mirrors Houck as a toss-up between 'pen and rotation. What else is there?

Farm living is the life for me is an old jingle from a TV show, but players like that upgrade to MLB. The Red Sox have two notable prospects at WooSox land. Honing their skills at Worcester are a fast-rising lefty Shane Drohan and right-hander Bryan Mata who is still attempting to assemble all his pitching pieces. Mata can fluctuate between dynamic power and an inability to locate the slab the batter stands next to. Drohan had a ten-run welcome to the International League. Both will await a call to Boston, and it may be after the All-Star break.

If the season disintegrates for the Red Sox, there will likely be a casting call for any hurlers with a pulse or promise. Expect some harsh on-the-job learning. For the farm hands, the opportunity exists as a vacuum is created in the rotation. Drohan and Mata could slide or move up as the prospect dance continues.

The Red Sox have had both success and failure trading for pitching, but the core of recent successful staffs were the results of trades. The excellent staff of 2004 made 157 starts - a fantastic figure for performance and health. Curt Schilling, Pedro Martínez, Tim Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo, and Derek Lowe were from other organizations.

Free agency, for starters, is the proverbial crap shoot, and crap can often be a definitive term. The pickings for the offseason offer only one name that would draw me into the conversation - Shohei Ohtani. The rest are in various stages, from wretched performances to potentially pricy failures. You may see Bloom follow his pattern and sign one or two.

The idea of a rotation circa 2023 is to put your team in a position to win, and this current mixture has done just the opposite. A thundering offense can come back just so often, and if they go into a dead zone, we see what happens - clearly on display against the Angels.

The foundation is there for 2024, and Houck and Bello are that rarities of homegrown talent contributing successfully. Can they match Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester?

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