2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018: Other than winning the World Series, what did each of those Boston Red Sox squads have in common? It wasn't just power bats, young talent, and timely trades: each team in that time frame had a clear-cut, no doubt about it, No. 1, top-of-the-rotation, ace pitcher.
In 2004, the Red Sox had the deadly duo of Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez both playing the role of ace, in 2007 they had the dominating force of nature that Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett brought to the mound, in 2013 they had the shutdown performances of Jon Lester, and in 2018 the absolute shutdown performances coming from Chris Sale and his gang of starters.
Since then, Boston has only touched the field in October but once, back in 2021, and is thirsty to get back. Not only do the Red Sox want to get back, they are also looking to return to championship form: In order to do that, however, it is imperative that they sign Brayan Bello -- perhaps their best pitcher right now - to a long-term deal.
Now while there is mutual interest in a long-term deal (sub req), according to an interview with Jen McCaffrey of the Athletic, Bello has stated that he wants to focus on finishing out the year strong before he begins any contract negotiations.
In a rotation that has been a bit of a mess to say the least, Bello has been a clean slate on an otherwise poorly erased blackboard. In every start this season, with the exception of May 30 vs. the Cincinnati Reds, Bello has gone at least six innings.
Bello has also collected a 7-5 record -- the most wins on the Boston staff -- a 3.14 ERA, and a 75:22 strikeout-to-walk walk ratio. He also averages 7.85 strikeouts per nine innings, making him one of the most dependable pitchers in the rotation this season.
Now, while Bello wants to finish the season up strong and maybe push his win total into the double-digits before he makes any sort of decision of an extension, it might be worth it for the Red Sox front office to explore salary expectation is.
If they go this route, they will know what to bring to the table moving forward, and maybe even bring some sort of offer to him before the season is over or as the season concludes -- that way it shows to Bello that they are serious about keeping him around, and don't want to lose him like they did with Xander Bogaerts this past offseason.
While locking up Bello is definitely a must for Boston (whether it's in the offseason or during the season), given his age at only 24-years-old, the Red Sox might want to consider giving him a secondary arm that is just as reliable as a back-up. They can either look internally or from the outside as both show promise.
Since the 2018 World Series run, Boston has been looking for a clear-cut, top of the line, ace for its pitching staff, Bello's that guy: now it's merely of just how much it's going to cost them to keep him around longterm, and if I were John Henry, I'd give Chaim Bloom a blank check.