The 2022 Rotation

chawson

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Why is everyone so interested in making trades now? At the deadline, wasn’t the argument that we didn’t want to move our top prospects and that the lower tier guys didn’t have much value, has that changed?

Granted there are a larger pool of available players in the off-season but there are also more suitors and also players available as free agents for just money.

If there’s a good match for a player that fills a long term foundational need, sure…but the Sox aren’t really locked up for very long at any position, so trading a Yorke, Houck, Duran or anyone else with any value just creates another hole.

I guess it just feels to me like with the current state of this team and the assets it has, free agency is the most likely way to build.
I agree with you that free agency is probably the best way to build this team, but not that it’s the most likely.

It’s been a pet idea of mine for awhile that the Sox have a disproportionately rough time signing free agent starters to multi-year deals relative to our big-market peers. Think about it — who was the last Sox incoming free agent starter the Sox signed to a multi-year deal that worked out? John Burkett?

YMMV on what “worked out” means, of course. Titles tend to bleach the stains out of otherwise regrettable deals (and I say all this as a defender of Dice-K and David Price). My point is that in the Henry era, the Sox have either whiffed on or overpaid to lure premium free agent starters because they have to overcome unfavorable factors in geography, park effects, media pressure and a tough offensive environment that doesn’t set pitchers up well for their next contract. In other words, anyone good enough for us to be in on is likely also pursued by major-market teams who can outspend us or offer warmer weather.

Secondly, I think trading for pitching gives Bloom a greater say in the number of years-under-contract an acquisition has. That method still sometimes allows us to use our financial advantage, because we can take on an unwanted contract (Beckett/Lowell, Kelly/Craig). But it’s just been easier for us to trade hitting for pitching, partly because the Fenway is attractive to hitters and makes some of them more productive than other parks.

In the pandemic era, I think our FO is even more likely to acquire by trade. Cheap teams are more likely to shed payroll, and players could be more likely to sign contracts near their families (which are almost never in New England). There are a lot of possible deals that make sense like this (Freeland; Montas + Andrus; Sonny Gray + Moustakas/Akiyama; Padrespitcher + Hosmer/Kim/Myers; Mondesi + Santana, etc.) The guaranteed money in almost those trades would be off the books in 2024, which could be more preferable to Bloom’s long-term plan (say, going after Juan Soto).

But I agree with you that in most cases, free agency is preferable. Of Scherzer, Ray, Rodon, Gausman, Stroman, Kershaw, Gray, Matz, Kikuchi, Duffy and Greinke, the remaining FA starters, it’s still possible we snag one, and I hope we do! No interest in the last three names, and I think Rodón, Gray and Kershaw have more injury risk than we’re willing to take on. There’s a lot of smoke around Matz, but I have a hunch that Bloom is more in on Stroman more than we realize.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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With Eovaldi a FA to be, wouldn’t it be best to sign a starter to a multi-year deal? A one year deal leaves at be least two openings in next years rotation. I guess if you squint you can see a few potential rotation candidates in the system but hardly a given.

re the idea of the Sox assuming a bad contract to get pitching, so the Sox have that much payroll to work with? I’m skeptical.

has Bloom made an offer of more than two years to anyone yet, as Sox GM?
 

Daniel_Son

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With Eovaldi a FA to be, wouldn’t it be best to sign a starter to a multi-year deal? A one year deal leaves at be least two openings in next years rotation. I guess if you squint you can see a few potential rotation candidates in the system but hardly a given.

re the idea of the Sox assuming a bad contract to get pitching, so the Sox have that much payroll to work with? I’m skeptical.

has Bloom made an offer of more than two years to anyone yet, as Sox GM?
I took a quick look at the next class of free agent starters, and nothing really stands out to me. Maybe deGrom opts out? Take a shot at Bassitt or Boyd on a shorter deal?

Chris Bassitt
Matthew Boyd
Carlos Carrasco (club option)
Mike Clevinger
Jacob deGrom (opt-out)
Zach Eflin
Nathan Eovaldi
Chris Flexen (club option)
Kyle Gibson
Sonny Gray (club option)
Andrew Heaney
Dallas Keuchel (club option)
Sean Manaea
Wade Miley
Mike Minor (club option)
Charlie Morton (club option)
Joe Musgrove
Aaron Nola (club option)
Jake Odorizzi (player option)
David Price, Chris Sale (opt-out)
Luis Severino (club option)
Ross Stripling
Noah Syndergaard
Jameson Taillon
Taijuan Walker (player option)
 

chawson

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re the idea of the Sox assuming a bad contract to get pitching, so the Sox have that much payroll to work with? I’m skeptical.
Yes. A thousand times yes. We’ll see what the new CBA is like, but under the current one the Sox should be geared up to exceed the luxury tax threshold for two years before dipping under (and we as fans should want them to). Many of those trade targets (Gray, Montas, Freeland) have contracts that come off the books after two more years, meaning they fit very well with a plan to not exceed the threshold a third year, whereas a 3 or 4 year deal for Matz might hamper it.

Again, that framework may change with the new CBA, but those are the only payroll constraints that matter under the current rules.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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I've seen links of the Sox to Stroman, although I'm guessing that's just due diligence. I've always liked him, but I don't really think he's better than E-Rod. If we weren't going to 5/$77 there, I can't see us in the Stroman bidding.
 

chawson

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I've seen links of the Sox to Stroman, although I'm guessing that's just due diligence. I've always liked him, but I don't really think he's better than E-Rod. If we weren't going to 5/$77 there, I can't see us in the Stroman bidding.
Who knows, but I see Stroman as our last realistic option in the FA SP market, unless we wanna fool around with more Pérez- and Richards-types in the post-spider tack era.

As for the money, it seems kinda six-of-one. If we fail to sign a FA starter, we’ll need to spend prospects to get one or two by trade. Our hand may then be forced to do so. We should make trades, I think, but better to do it not out of necessity.

One thing about Stroman that doesn’t get enough attention is his plus defense. He’s 2nd in all of baseball in DRS from 2017-21 (+18) and 2nd in assists (134) despite sitting out 2020. I’m also not sure people get how good his new split-change is, or how good he is at limiting home runs (8th of 130 SPs from 2018-21). He compares pretty well with Lance McCullers, a guy with a much more worrisome injury history that the Astros just extended at 5/$85. Stroman is three years older of course, but I’d happily him to that deal in a heartbeat.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Of course Stroman would be great but there’s just no evidence the Sox are truly interested in going long term on anyone, never mind a 5’7” pitcher They made a half hearted effort to retain E-Rod and dabbled on Matz, who both signed pretty reasonable deals. I’d expect more dumpster diving (they reportedly made an offer on Heaney) and hoping for better results than they got with Richards and Perez.

It’s only been two years but it seems clear that Bloom would prefer to avoid long term deals and doesn’t want to trade too prospects. Is there any reason to think that mindset is going to change, especially before there’s more clarity on a new CBA?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I’m really of the opinion they’re going for Kershaw- and it’ll be shockingly cheap. Relatively.
They have the flexibility and lack of urgency (despite what some are feeling here, I don’t think it’s a win now situation) .
 

Apisith

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Kershaw's getting PRP injections instead of surgery, but a lot of pitchers have gone that route and ended up needing surgery. Signing him would be taking a big gamble on his ability to stay healthy next year. I don't see why we should be taking that kind of risk. What's the upside, really? Even before this forearm injury he was getting back injuries every year which limited his innings. As a LHP with declining velocity, lining him up to pitch often against the Yankees and Blue Jays doesn't really seem enticing.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Kershaw's getting PRP injections instead of surgery, but a lot of pitchers have gone that route and ended up needing surgery. Signing him would be taking a big gamble on his ability to stay healthy next year. I don't see why we should be taking that kind of risk. What's the upside, really? Even before this forearm injury he was getting back injuries every year which limited his innings. As a LHP with declining velocity, lining him up to pitch often against the Yankees and Blue Jays doesn't really seem enticing.
I'm thinking that nobody will touch him for this reason, but I'm seeing the possibility that he can stay healthy as a 4... possibly 5, inning starter. Not being asked to pitch more than 70 and being effective enough for the new type of pitching staff construction that he'll be valuable (and worth the contract) in this type of role. Yeah, it's risky, but I think with 6 "starters" and I'm using the term pretty loosely, thinking that possibly both Crawford and Seabold may end up on the 25 man... they have the flexibility to take that risk.
I'm sort of thinking out loud here but I don't see any other FA pitcher that the Sox are "in" on in earnest, and I don't think they have the prospects to turn a trade on returning a quality starter either....
 

chawson

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Of course Stroman would be great but there’s just no evidence the Sox are truly interested in going long term on anyone, never mind a 5’7” pitcher They made a half hearted effort to retain E-Rod and dabbled on Matz, who both signed pretty reasonable deals. I’d expect more dumpster diving (they reportedly made an offer on Heaney) and hoping for better results than they got with Richards and Perez.

It’s only been two years but it seems clear that Bloom would prefer to avoid long term deals and doesn’t want to trade too prospects. Is there any reason to think that mindset is going to change, especially before there’s more clarity on a new CBA?
You’ve said this a few times and I’m not sure where you’re getting it from. I think for it to be true, we’d have to assume the Sox value every pitcher the same way, which seems like a leap.

There’s plenty of reason to think the mindset has changed from last offseason, when Bloom stated a preference for 1-2 year deals. That made sense given where we were last year, but it’d be terrible if the Sox suddenly refused to offer multi-year deals as a permanent roster-strategy. Stroman is certainly getting somewhere between 3-5 years. I think we’re reportedly in on him, we can assume we’re in that range too.

This is where I wonder if Red Sox owner LeBron James comes into play. Stroman is the face of Klutch Sports’ baseball division, a company owned by LeBron’s old friend Rich Paul that also reps LeBron. It would make some sense that James could head up an effective lobby here.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Well, they had E-Rod, two years younger than Stroman with similar career #s, and made a half-hearted effort to bring him back. They have pursued Matz and Heaney but obviously didn’t land either.

Sure, it’s possible that they are also interested in giving a long term deal to Stroman and are willing to give the right pitcher a 4/5 year deal but the evidence we have so far seems to suggest they want a pitcher on a short term deal, no? I think the same thing Is happening with Schwarber, they want him back, but only on their terms.

I know you think the team is willing to spend a lot of money, but until it happens, I’m skeptical and think they will continue to be very cautious and operate the way they have since Bloom took over, at least until there’s a new CBA.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I'm thinking that nobody will touch him for this reason, but I'm seeing the possibility that he can stay healthy as a 4... possibly 5, inning starter. Not being asked to pitch more than 70 and being effective enough for the new type of pitching staff construction that he'll be valuable (and worth the contract) in this type of role. Yeah, it's risky, but I think with 6 "starters" and I'm using the term pretty loosely, thinking that possibly both Crawford and Seabold may end up on the 25 man... they have the flexibility to take that risk.
I'm sort of thinking out loud here but I don't see any other FA pitcher that the Sox are "in" on in earnest, and I don't think they have the prospects to turn a trade on returning a quality starter either....
If nobody is in on Kershaw and they can get him for a song (relatively speaking...still probably talking an eight figure salary), it might be worth it to deploy him in a more limited role where they can protect him. I just have my doubts that his price drops that much. There's bound to be another team who'd be willing to take a flyer on Kershaw at the "right price." Perhaps one or two that have more flexibility in their payroll to take a big(ger) swing with him. I'm thinking specifically of the Rangers (hometown appeal) or the Angels (though they might have taken their flyer with Syndergaard).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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This is where I wonder if Red Sox owner LeBron James comes into play. Stroman is the face of Klutch Sports’ baseball division, a company owned by LeBron’s old friend Rich Paul that also reps LeBron. It would make some sense that James could head up an effective lobby here.
I think this might overstate LeBron's involvement in FSG. I expect that until he retires from the NBA, LeBron's role is entirely financial. Or at the very least, he's not taking time out of his in-season schedule to poke his nose into contract negotiations for one of the subsidiaries of a group he holds a minority stake in.
 

chawson

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I think this might overstate LeBron's involvement in FSG. I expect that until he retires from the NBA, LeBron's role is entirely financial. Or at the very least, he's not taking time out of his in-season schedule to poke his nose into contract negotiations for one of the subsidiaries of a group he holds a minority stake in.
Sure, but LeBron seems to have time for a lot of things besides his NBA schedule, doesn’t he?

It was pretty widely inferred when James joined FSG that his involvement would both help attract a younger audience to MLB/the team as well as help the Red Sox address some stains in their franchise legacy. Here’s how a Guardian article put it in March of this year.

Then there’s the other historical aspect to James joining the ownership team. Discussing the move with the media last night, James said, “I think for me and my partner, Maverick, to be the first two Black men to be a part of that ownership group and history of that franchise, I think it’s pretty damn cool.”

That history, of course, is that the Red Sox were the last MLB franchise to integrate, something which has tarnished the team’s reputation ever since. James’s involvement with the franchise should be one more move to distance itself from the shameful racist legacy of former owner Tom Yawkey. Oh, and hey, if it also happens to make the team more appealing to fans from minorities – or maybe even more appealing to potential free agents – why that’s all the better from a financial standpoint.


I can only speculate that this narrative affects Stroman, but as a fan I’m keenly interested in the Sox addressing this head on. Put it this way: if there’s any MLB player that James’s opinion might help sway here, I’d think it’s a friend who belongs to the same sports agency (and who takes open shots at the Yankees). It just so happens that guy’s a free agent without a QO who fits our needs exactly.
 
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Jack Rabbit Slim

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Well, they had E-Rod, two years younger than Stroman with similar career #s
Except this isn't really true. ERA+ the last 5 years for each:

Edro - 109, 116, 128, DNP, 100
Stroman - 145, 77, 137, DNP, 133

I was hoping for them to re-sign Edro, but it is very possible (maybe even likely) he just had a career year in 2019 and it was still worse than 3 out of the last 4 years Stroman pitched. Add in the longterm covid concerns and reports of declining velocity and it sure seems like Stroman is the better bet going forward. I wouldn't be upset at all if they went to 5/100 for Stroman.
 

TedYaz&JimEd

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https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/11/quick-hits-red-sox-hill-twins-cruz-rockies-black.html
Rich Hill has already emphatically stated that he’ll be back for 2022, a season in which he’ll be 42 years old. But would the Red Sox be interested in a reunion with the Massachusetts native? “There is an interest, without a doubt,” Hill told Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. “There’s a need on the other end. [But] the need for starting pitching is very apparent throughout the league — not just in Boston. It’s also many other clubs that need it.”
So what about Rich Hill? Getting older, long injury history, and yet… he’s still pitching and pitching well. Why would he be less preferable to some of the flotsam they’ve dragged in over the past couple years? I’m sincerely curious.
 

Rovin Romine

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I thought I'd get us started with a look at the recent statistics of the healthy SP in the system who could potentially throw big league innings, starting with the five guys who would be our rotation if the season started tomorrow. As I get to it, I'll do shorter write-ups for our minor league pitching pipeline, potential free agent targets, and trade targets. And of course, I am gathering this all together because I would love to hear your thoughts.
Late to the party, but this is an excellent SoSH post - almost a throwback.

I'd say to predict what may happen on the FA market, we have to consider the usage we've seen from the Sox under the current Bloom/Cora dynamic. The trend seemed to be a preference to pull early rather than milk innings. That may change, but if not, I'd expect (if the market allows), something more along the line of signing some strong 4 inning guys with relatively rubber arms - someone who can reliably go out there every X days, as opposed to a back-to-back day guy.

Second, we have to consider the physical effects of that usage - can you build a good staff that way? How often do you have to replace it? We may have burnt out Barnes, we're lucky we didn't do the same with Whitlock late in the season. Medically, the Sox seem to have avoided gross impacts with the short starter approach. (But who knows how those guys will do next year?)

Third, we consider the seasonal strategy - does the build get you to the post-season? Is it viable there? Jury's out, but it seems competitive, as long as you have a couple of top-heavy guys who can deliver in a short series, as opposed to a (hypothetical) strictly league-average staff.

I'd guess the plan is:
Tier one starters: Sale, Eovaldi​
Tier two starters: Pivetta, (Houck/Whitlock)​
Tier three (innings eating starters): Wachatalkinabout - everyone is a tier two starter.​

There's the 5. Seabold & Company are AAA depth. Though there's a non-zero chance they trade a Seabold type for a Houck type. E.g., 4 strong innings and done v. and upside of 6 averageish innings and done.

I'd expect Bloom to sign a swing/longman type (or two), probably a #5 starter journeyman who, like Wacha, is open to being the "second starter" out of the pen, etc.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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RR, your post and thoughts about the team's options and possible approach got me thinking (always a dangerous thing). Before LaRussa changed how bullpens and closers were handled, before we had the rigid pitching roles that teams now seem to be rethinking, there were many different models for handling a pitching staff. I started thinking about the 2+ inning relievers - guys like Radatz and before him, Joe Black. I looked up Black's stats and randomly looked at the Dodgers' stats from 1952, when Black won ROY. That season, Da Bums had SIX guys both start games and also gets saves. Only one player hit 200 innings (Erskine, 206.6). Nine guys threw 97 or more innings. Black actually led the team in wins and saves, with 15 each. He threw 142.3 innings over 56 appearances, including 2 starts. Black was fantastic, but the team had great versatility throughout its pitching staff (in addition to a great lineup, which is why they won the pennant).

I know that Dodgers team dealt with some injuries (Black started 3 WS games, I think). So maybe that season was built as much on necessity as design, but I found the usage interesting nonetheless.

Anyway, I guess my point is that, while the reasons today might differ, there are plenty of historical precedents for putting together a flexible staff of guys who can be used in multiple roles: openers, bulk inning guys, multi-inning closers, etc. In today's game, maybe that's the new Moneyball. Find Wacha and Whitlock types who can give you lots of different, relatively high quality innings without needing to be an every-fifth-day starter or one inning reliever. A key, as you suggest, is knowing what each guy can do and maintaining their arm health.
 
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PrometheusWakefield

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Right and the thing about RaysBall is that it's both an acquisition issue, an in-game strategy and a player development philosophy. Teams have spent years and years trying to get that classic pitching prospect with a good fastball and one good secondary pitch to learn that changeup or cutter that will allow them to face hitters a third time through the order and turn into the 180+ IP workhorse starting pitcher that is the presumed goal of pitching prospects (or at least pitchers who couldn't develop that third pitch were relegated to the lesser status of RP prospects). But maybe instead of trying to get your starter through the third time in the order on the back of a middling third offering we should be removing that pitcher entirely so that the opposing lineup gets a whole new look from a whole new pitcher. And maybe if we focus on depth in the whole pitching staff then the question of who is technically the fourth or fifth starting pitcher doesn't matter as much as we thought. And maybe that will also make us better insulated from injuries, since we are less reliant on any individual guy, and because most pitchers are throwing 100-140 innings rather than 180.

Look at the organizations spending big on free agent pitching this offseason: the Tigers, the Mets, the Rangers. Do those sound like the organizations on the cutting edge of baseball to you?

Edit: Or look at this list of team that Rotoworld says are in on Robbie Ray: the Tigers, Twins, Giants, Angels and Rangers. Other than the Giants, if the Tigers, Twins, Angels and Rangers are the top teams in on a player, probably best to look elsewhere.
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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I think those are all good points and reasonable thoughts- but the Sox clearly need some more talent on the staff. You’ve got close to 600 innings to replace with the loss of E-Rod, Ottavino, Richards, Perez, Robles, etc….optimistically, increases for Sale, Whitlock, Houck and the addition of Wacha probably get you about 400 of those. I suspect they add another pitcher of the Cobb/Smyly/Hill type and a reliever like Knebel or Tepera and call it a day.

Success of the pitching staff is going to come down to health and development of Whitlock / Houck, I suspect; and they’ll look to add someone if needed mid-season when they’ll hopefully have more tradable assets.
 

GB5

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Anyone concerned about Kershaw pitching in Boston. Obviously the smallest of sample sizes, but he didnt pitch well in his WS start in Fenway, which ended with one of his coaches complaining the fans were very mean to him. I wondered afterwards if that sentiment came from him, and if so I thought it was a bad look.
 

chawson

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Anyone concerned about Kershaw pitching in Boston. Obviously the smallest of sample sizes, but he didnt pitch well in his WS start in Fenway, which ended with one of his coaches complaining the fans were very mean to him. I wondered afterwards if that sentiment came from him, and if so I thought it was a bad look.
Yeah, I’d be pretty majorly concerned given the # of years we’d need to commit to him. He’s a pretty masterful pitcher but the fastball is all but gone. Much respect to him but I don’t think we’d need to worry that Bloom will go there.
 

Mueller Lite

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Loved reading through this thread. I've been thinking about the rotation all morning and the current FA class. With next year's FA class looking significantly weaker and knowing that Eovaldi will be gone after 2022 and don't forget Sale's opt out, I think paying up now for a clear #2-#3 starter is pretty necessary for 2022.

I personally think that Whitlock should stay in the bullpen for now with the Barnes fears and he's just so valuable there. I'm ecstatic how good Houck looks but signing Wacha gives me doubts that giving Houck a rotation spot off the bat just leaves the Sox too thin in the rotation. Is Pivetta really a #3 starter? Should the Sox really enter the season with Sale, Eovaldi, Pivetta, Houck and Wacha? That scares me. You're one injury or Wacha implosion away from being a pretty weak rotation in this division. The Sox need to find a legit replacement for E-Rod and plan to start Houck in the bullpen in an elite swing role. He'll get plenty of starts and valuable bulk innings to get him ready to take a permanent spot int he 2023 rotation.

The Sox can go over the CBT this year and use the money they'll get back when Eovaldi, JD and Hernandez leave (but there better be enough room for that Devers extension) in order to sign a legitimate mid rotation starter this offseason.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yeah, the team could stand pat this year and be ok (or, a 4th place team- really depends on how one assesses last years performance), but the real challenge comes after next year…when the team could potentially need to fill openings in the rotation, SS, CF, C, and DH. Restocking via FA is looking more challenging than ever, given this market, but it really seems like adding some long term pieces this off-season- esp. in the rotation, would be ideal. Granted, this may be easier to do mid-season if player development increases value of Sox prospects (of course the opposite is also true).

This does feel like the possible last year of this core. Challenge for Bloom is balancing that with building for the future.
 

Rovin Romine

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I think those are all good points and reasonable thoughts- but the Sox clearly need some more talent on the staff.
True. There's upside, but you don't want a bullpen full of Bazardos and Valdezes. And we're skewing that way now.

As a related point, you go with what you're able to acquire. If the Sox were able to land prime Pedro in 2022, on basically the same terms, you do that without thinking, and run your twice-through strategy on the other 4 days you play.

Granted, some of the Sox 2021 twice-through approach might have been "forced" on them by viewing Sale as second-half acquisition, or dealing with sticky-gate impacting Richards and others. That said, it worked for them, and so I'm guessing they're probably more likely to pursue that at a quarter of the cost as opposed to trying to assemble a 1990s pitching staff at premium FA prices.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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My actual position here is that the Red Sox have a few young assets that are basically blocked at the MLB level, as well as a few players (like Renfroe) that we could probably flip for a prospy or two without much loss to the MLB roster, and we should be turning those assets into a young promising SP, preferably one currently playing for the Miami Marlins, rather than committing all that money and all those years to a pitcher on the wrong side of 30. And then lets spend the money on offense and middle infield defense.
 

Jimbodandy

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True. There's upside, but you don't want a bullpen full of Bazardos and Valdezes. And we're skewing that way now.

As a related point, you go with what you're able to acquire. If the Sox were able to land prime Pedro in 2022, on basically the same terms, you do that without thinking, and run your twice-through strategy on the other 4 days you play.

Granted, some of the Sox 2021 twice-through approach might have been "forced" on them by viewing Sale as second-half acquisition, or dealing with sticky-gate impacting Richards and others. That said, it worked for them, and so I'm guessing they're probably more likely to pursue that at a quarter of the cost as opposed to trying to assemble a 1990s pitching staff at premium FA prices.
Yes. Bloom is going to read the market and act accordingly. He's not going to go long on mediocre guys because of some thought that a 30-start, 180+ inning eater is a requirement.

If league average starters at high prices is bad business, then twice-through live arms at reasonable cost just might be the new moneyball. And hedging bets with extra, reasonably priced arms like Wacha is a part of that. Why not?

As noted above, we seem to be zigging where some of the poorly run organizations are zagging. That's a good sign.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Who is blocked at the major league level, though? There’s almost nobody under contract for long term so nobody really blocked. Maybe Downs, if you consider Locke (and Arroyo) ahead of him but how much value could he return? Jordan, if Devers is signed long term (and stays at 3b)? Same goes with are Renfroe- they could trade him but there is already a lack of OF depth in the organization, so if they move him, they just have to acquire another OF.

The system seems a little ways away from being able to be able to pull of a few big trades….but now that FA seems out of whack, not really sure how the team is upgraded other than waiting the market out and see whose left, which is what it seems like they might be doing anyways.
 

The Slidey Dog

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There are many interesting thoughts in here and in the other off-season threads. My apologies, I cannot find the post that suggested a 4 man rotation, but I would like to post a thought experiment expanding on that in particular, and other points brought up in here and other threads. It seems to me the Sox are definitely looking at $-value maximization on a per inning basis, of course balanced with the quality (however measured) of those innings. Given they seem to have bought in on the concept of the less than 3 times through the order, do you think it is possible the Sox are looking at the following? I would not call it a four man rotation, but more of a four day cycle. There are 40.5 four day cycles in a season. Sale, Eovaldi and Pivetta get the "full" leash of going 2 times through, say that averages 4.0-4.5 innings per cycle. They each get a "caddy" - Wacha is one, two more to go (Rich Hill types?). These caddies average maybe 3.0 innings per cycle. Houck and Whitlock I would think would be a different story. Given their respective career positions, they average 3.5 innings per cycle and maybe switch off who starts each cycle. For the first three, that would mean roughly 160-180 innings on the season. For the caddies, roughly 120. For Houck/Whitlock roughly 140 innings. I think the first two are manageable, even with Sale first full season after TJ. Houck/Whitlock may be pushing it. With 1,458 inning required (I know - extra innings off-set by bottom of the 9th road losses is probably a positive number), that leaves somewhere between 275-340 innings for the remaining five slots (assuming 13 man staff) in the pen - 55-68 innings pitched per slot. Right now Sox have four for sure holdovers - Barnes, Braiser, Taylor and Sawamura. I would think that 13th slot would go to another junk time inning eater (Andriese type?) or reserved for the Worcester-Boston shuttle. If (big if), this occurs, it does open up $ for the positional side of the roster and it seems like a good way not to burn out your pen. Darwinzon and Seabold start in AAA going 3-4 innings every 4th day to fill in when someone goes down.

The drawbacks to me are: 1) this team with a good off-season can contend in '22, maybe not a good time to experiment like this; 2) I don't know the physiology of the reduced innings per start but 3 days rest would have on Sale, Pivetta and Eovaldi; 3) there are a lot of off-days in a season the help manage this, however, there are three stretches that would be worrisome - second half of April and pre/post ASB; and 4) injuries happen, in a normal 5 man rotation you plug your 7th or 8th starter in, relievers normally are 1 inning guys you can fill from AAA - this requires a totally different strategy to injury management.

I again apologize if this has been covered as I sporadically visit the site and it is hard to cover the dozens of pages that occur when one goes AWOL. Anyway, I think it is interesting, I hope others here do as well.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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Who is blocked at the major league level, though? There’s almost nobody under contract for long term so nobody really blocked. Maybe Downs, if you consider Locke (and Arroyo) ahead of him but how much value could he return? Jordan, if Devers is signed long term (and stays at 3b)? Same goes with are Renfroe- they could trade him but there is already a lack of OF depth in the organization, so if they move him, they just have to acquire another OF.

The system seems a little ways away from being able to be able to pull of a few big trades….but now that FA seems out of whack, not really sure how the team is upgraded other than waiting the market out and see whose left, which is what it seems like they might be doing anyways.
Duran is blocked already and then I anticipate Dalbec and Jeter Downs will be blocked by the time the offseason is done. And Christian Arroyo, to the extent that he has some value. Seems to me like a reasonable package for one of the Marlins pitchers - and if we're getting a controlled young pitcher back I wouldn't mind including one of our not-blocked SP prospects as well.
 

sean1562

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Connor Seabold and Josh Winckowski seem like pitchers that Bloom likes to pitch multiple innings of middle relief in the Rays style. I doubt that we are going to invest heavily in the top of the SP market. Bloom literally wrote the player development handbook for the Rays in the late 2000s. The Rays got around 243 innings of around 2.18 ERA pitching last season from Andrew Kittredge, Collin McHugh, Jeffrey Springs, Louis Head and Matt Wisler.
 

chawson

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Loved reading through this thread. I've been thinking about the rotation all morning and the current FA class. With next year's FA class looking significantly weaker and knowing that Eovaldi will be gone after 2022 and don't forget Sale's opt out, I think paying up now for a clear #2-#3 starter is pretty necessary for 2022.
I think this is bingo. Even if Sale and Pivetta stay healthy and Houck and Whitlock adapt seamlessly to the rotation, which is wishful thinking, we’ll need to extend or replace Eovaldi in 2023. Most of our pitching prospects look like #5 starters or relievers (Bello, Winckowski, Groome, Ward, Murphy), while the higher upside ones are either hurt (Mata) or far away (Song, Gonzalez).

With a bad FA class next offseason and a number of prospects we’re gonna want to stash on our 40-man this year and next, it may be smart to consolidate those innings pitched into one roster spot.

I think the FO puts a premium on guys with good changeups or splitters. It would really help to know that those pitches weren’t spin-aided (so we’re ideally looking at how they performed mid-June on). I think we end up with one of Stroman, Márquez, Montas, Pablo Lopez or Sonny Gray before the end of the week. I could also see a minor trade for a guy like Zach Thompson, Reynaldo Lopez or Kyle Freeland.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I think this is bingo. Even if Sale and Pivetta stay healthy and Houck and Whitlock adapt seamlessly to the rotation, which is wishful thinking, we’ll need to extend or replace Eovaldi in 2023. Most of our pitching prospects look like #5 starters or relievers (Bello, Winckowski, Groome, Ward, Murphy), while the higher upside ones are either hurt (Mata) or far away (Song, Gonzalez).

With a bad FA class next offseason and a number of prospects we’re gonna want to stash on our 40-man this year and next, it may be smart to consolidate those innings pitched into one roster spot.

I think the FO puts a premium on guys with good changeups or splitters. It would really help to know that those pitches weren’t spin-aided (so we’re ideally looking at how they performed mid-June on). I think we end up with one of Stroman, Márquez, Montas, Pablo Lopez or Sonny Gray before the end of the week. I could also see a minor trade for a guy like Zach Thompson, Reynaldo Lopez or Kyle Freeland.
You have an incredibly low opinion on Bello, considering most rank him higher than Mata. Bello has mid rotation potential while Mata probably gets pushed to the bullpen.

Weird take. Why so low on Bello?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Duran is blocked already and then I anticipate Dalbec and Jeter Downs will be blocked by the time the offseason is done. And Christian Arroyo, to the extent that he has some value. Seems to me like a reasonable package for one of the Marlins pitchers - and if we're getting a controlled young pitcher back I wouldn't mind including one of our not-blocked SP prospects as well.
Who is blocking Duran? Kike's only under contract for one year. Duran is the current 4th OF and the defacto starting CF in 2023. Dalbec isn't going to be blocked because they're not about to acquire a 1B to supplant him with Casas on the doorstep. Downs is only going to be blocked if his 2021 is what he is going forward (which also means he has next to no value right now).

And that doesn't even get into the question of whether the Marlins want/need any of those guys more than one of their pitchers.
 

chawson

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You have an incredibly low opinion on Bello, considering most rank him higher than Mata. Bello has mid rotation potential while Mata probably gets pushed to the bullpen.

Weird take. Why so low on Bello?
I like him, but my understanding is that a lot of folks (the Sox Prospects guys, Fangraphs) think it’s likely he ends up in the bullpen, even if it’s more of a multi-inning role.
 

nvalvo

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I was hoping to assemble all of these write ups on trade and FA targets for this thread, but the market has moved faster than I've been able to get that together. Rest assured I never in a million years would have come back with Wacha and Paxton as the most obvious starting pitching targets.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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I was hoping to assemble all of these write ups on trade and FA targets for this thread, but the market has moved faster than I've been able to get that together. Rest assured I never in a million years would have come back with Wacha and Paxton as the most obvious starting pitching targets.
I didn't expect them, but I did expect somebody I didn't expect.

The 10 man rotation

1. Sale
2. Eovaldi
3. Paxton (post-ASB)
4. Houck
5. Whitlock
6. Pivetta
7. Wacha
8. Winckowski
9. Kutter Crawford
10. Seabold

I'd still like a Marlin but it's actually a much better rotation than people realize in part because there is real depth here.
 

RG33

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I didn't expect them, but I did expect somebody I didn't expect.

The 10 man rotation

1. Sale
2. Eovaldi
3. Paxton (post-ASB)
4. Houck
5. Whitlock
6. Pivetta
7. Wacha
8. Winckowski
9. Kutter Crawford
10. Seabold

I'd still like a Marlin but it's actually a much better rotation than people realize in part because there is real depth here.
I can’t get Paxton Crawford throwing a cutter out of my head when I see this now. He was 5-1. . . . .perhaps a cutter would have been the difference.
 

Bosoxian

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Aug 17, 2021
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I didn't expect them, but I did expect somebody I didn't expect.

The 10 man rotation

1. Sale
2. Eovaldi
3. Paxton (post-ASB)
4. Houck
5. Whitlock
6. Pivetta
7. Wacha
8. Winckowski
9. Kutter Crawford
10. Seabold

I'd still like a Marlin but it's actually a much better rotation than people realize in part because there is real depth here.
There’s no Perez on this! The depth we have now is much better than what we have had the last few years
 
I've seen a lot of people bemoaning the team's "frugality" in every starting pitcher signing thread, so I figured I'd take a shot at explaining what I think is going on.

I suspect what's happening here is that the Sox' analysis has shown that signing longer term free agent contracts with pitchers isn't worth the risk. In my admittedly limited sample size (looking at the top 10 FA pitchers from the past 3 years) I found basically no relationship between the the overall contract size of the pitcher and the likelihood of that pitcher being a bust. Strasburg is an instructive example, putting up an average of nearly 28 starts per season of a stretch of 8 years, signing a monster contract and then immediately exploding.

There simply is no such thing as a legit, healthy starter. Pitchers can break down at any moment, especially in the age range that is represented by free agents.

Yes, it may be true that some pitchers are a slightly better bet than others to not fall apart, but when those pitchers are commanding 4-5+ year contracts vs. 1-2 years for less reliable options, the risk/reward ratio becomes skewed towards shorter term deals.

So it's not so much about cheapness as it is about committing your $30-40mm or what not to 4-5 guys on short contracts rather than 2 guys on long contracts. In the latter scenario if one pitcher falls off a cliff due to injury or decline you aren't stuck with that part of the budget tied up for years. In the former category if any one or two signings don't pan out (or have to be demoted to the bullpen) you aren't losing much. As long as one or two over-perform expectations you're all set.

This is a bit like how Bloom approached position player signings last year, with Renfroe, Kike, Marwin, Arroyo, Santana and Franchy all competing for a couple of spots. One of those spent a lot of time injured and three didn't provide much value at all, but the two that hit were a big part of the season's success.