The Red Sox aren’t looking to fill up their rotation with back-end talent this offseason. Instead, they plan to pursue “a couple” of No. 2 starters, according to a new report from The Athletic’s Chad Jennings.
But of course, actions speak louder than rumors.
rick porcello with an ode to Jacob DeGrom
The Red Sox have multiple holes at the top of their rotation, thanks to Chris Sale’s inability to stay healthy and Nathan Eovaldi’s uncertain status. To fill those holes, Jennings reports the “Red Sox are not going after a bunch of No. 4s and 5s this offseason.” He writes that multiple sources informed him the Red Sox are targeting “a couple of No. 2s — give or take — who push their existing starters into more appropriate roles.”
While that sounds promising, identifying those No. 2 starters is challenging. It’s apparent the Red Sox are sitting out the top of the starting pitching market, with Jacob deGrom signing a five-year, $185 million contract with the Rangers, and Justin Verlander inking a two-year, $86 million deal with the Mets.
The Mets lost deGrom, and replaced him with Verlander. Under Steve Cohen’s ownership, they’re finally operating like a big market team.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox reportedly still haven’t made a competitive offer to Xander Bogaerts.
But maybe chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will be more aggressive with improving the team’s rotation. The Red Sox nearly signed right-hander Zach Eflin, but he opted to join the Rays.
Then again, it’s uncertain whether Eflin is actually a No. 2 starter. He has a 4.49 ERA in seven seasons.
Jennings mentions the Red Sox are eyeing Japanese right-hander Kodai Sengai, and Chris Bassit could be an option, too. He’s posted a 3.45 ERA in eight seasons.
Righties Shane Bieber and Corbin Burnes are trade possibilities as well.
Either way, the Red Sox are already getting hammered for their bargain-hunting offseason approach. Adding a couple of legitimate Major League pitchers without extensive injury histories to their rotation would help turn around that narrative, and actually improve the team.