Recent Red Sox rumor might indicate they’re losing grip on top pitching targets

The Red Sox are among the most recent teams linked to free agent Marcus Stroman.

Jul 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) pitches
Jul 31, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) pitches / Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
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The Boston Red Sox entered the 2023-24 offseason desperate for starting pitching and they've been connected to a number of free-agent and trade prospects in the past few months.

One of the most recent among them is Marcus Stroman. USA Today's Mark Feinsand was the first to connect Boston to the right-hander, along with the Giants, Angels and Orioles.

With Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery still available, Stroman is in the second tier of free-agent pitchers who remain unsigned — all of the more highly coveted starters may have to sign before Stroman sees any serious action in free agency. And it doesn't sound like the Sox aren't getting closer to landing any of them. Go figure, they were considered a suitor for Shōta Imanaga, and he reportedly agreed to a deal with the Cubs on Tuesday night.

Boston could use a starter with the level of consistency that Stroman possesses. He has a 3.65 career ERA and averages over 25 appearances per season over his nine-year career.

Marcus Stroman's consistency could make him a fit in Boston, but do fans support it?

2023 was one of Stroman's more inconsistent seasons — he posted an 11.00 ERA in his last seven games with the Cubs. The larger picture of his season, however, was much better and more dependable. Stroman made 27 appearances in 2023 and he clocked a 3.95 ERA with 119 strikeouts over 136.2 innings. Among Stroman's performances last season was a complete game shutout of the Rays, during which he allowed just one hit.

The Red Sox would need to create a spot on the 40-man roster if they were to pursue Stroman, or any other new addition, for that matter. Kenley Jansen has reportedly been made available for trades, and freeing up the $16 million he would be owed in 2024 would allow Boston some flexibility to pursue free-agent pitchers.

Stroman opted out of the final year of his contract with the Cubs and turned down $21 million. The Red Sox's front office hasn't been inclined to spend much money this offseason and, for a free agent outside of the top tier, Stroman seems like a longshot.

But the Sox's new Chief Baseball Officer Craig Breslow and Stroman are already acquainted. With Breslow and Stroman both coming from Chicago, there could be a mutual understanding between the two parties and a Stroman signing could be more possible than it seems at this juncture.

Stroman would provide the Red Sox rotation with a consistent veteran arm that they're lacking. With other American League East teams also interested, such as the Yankees, Boston would have serious suitors to compete with. Other free-agent options are (or were) better for the team — Imanaga and Montgomery being chief among them — but Stroman would work as a fallback option if the Sox get out-bid for a lefty. Sox fans are just hoping this isn't an indication that the Sox are officially out on the top group of arms.

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