The 2023 Rotation

Petagine in a Bottle

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Is Wacha much different of a pitcher than he was a year ago, when he got like $7? He had a FIP over 4. He feels like a 3/36 kind of guy to me. A $19M QO was a risk. Especially since they already offered it to Eovaldi. What if they offer to both, and both guys accepted?
 

Niastri

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No team can pretend that a guy eating up almost $30M of payroll isn't there and that if he does show appear, it's like bonus points. You can't just sign another $25-$30M "ace" like DeGromm or another injury prone guy. It's been discussed all over the place... but the only way to mitigate against super high priced injury prone older pitchers it to have a good pipeline of young, cost-controlled pitchers. The Sox are finally at the cusp of being at that spot with Bello and Mata and a few of the other lower ceiling guys
The Sox don't even need good young cost controlled pitchers to help. If they can get decent young pitchers to take the fifth and sixth starting slots for the league minimum, instead of paying $20 million every year to average or worse veterans to do the same job, that would help them pay a top end free agent every year. Same thing with having a young starter position player.

Bello, Whitlock, Houck, Dalbec, Casas, Cordero, Duran, McGuire, Wong and even Hosmer are guys that could potentially give better than replacement production at bargain basement prices this upcoming season.
 
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ElcaballitoMVP

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There is definitely some advantage to the limited risk of a one year deal though..
This is true a lot of the time, but the way I'm looking at it is Wacha isn't a $17M per year pitcher. He's not likely to get close to that in the open market. If the Sox feel comfortable having him around for longer than one year, doesn't it make more sense to sign him to a 2-3 year deal in the $8-10M range? MLBTR, in their top 50 free agent predictions, thinks he's going to get around a 2 year, $16M deal. If they're close in their estimate, a 1/$17M deal isn't the best way for the Sox to spend their money.
 

chrisfont9

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Andrew Heaney supposedly on the Sox' radar, presumably as a starter although he did toss a couple innings in relief this season in LA. MLBTR has Cotillo reporting "interest". Heaney had something of a breakout year where he threw more sliders and struck out 35% of hitters.
 

chawson

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Is Wacha much different of a pitcher than he was a year ago, when he got like $7? He had a FIP over 4. He feels like a 3/36 kind of guy to me. A $19M QO was a risk. Especially since they already offered it to Eovaldi. What if they offer to both, and both guys accepted?
Wacha will probably get less than 3/$36, but who knows. I'd be more inclined to grab him on a one-year at a higher AAV than make a three-year commitment.

I guess from a team-building perspective, he's another guy it's a drag we weren't able to trade at the deadline. But on the plus side, if he lands a decent deal somewhere else, Wacha's 2022 is proof that it's possible for the Sox to sign a starting pitcher to a pillow contract, something that's usually reserved for hitters.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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I think in a vacuum they may have been willing to give Wacha a QO. But they didn't want to give one to both him and Nate and have them both accept @ 19.75. For whatever reason, they decided that Nate was the better value or risk, which could be viewed in various ways: likelihood of accepting the QU, likelihood of working out a reasonable multi-year deal or projections about performance or IP (likelihood of missing time due to injury). And maybe a tie-breaker would be Nate's contributions to the organization and role in the clubhouse.

I wouldn't rule out a Wacha return, but I think it may be a little less likely with Paxton opting in. And If they could get Senga, that might well be a better option, but I expect the bidding for him to be fierce.
 

moondog80

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Most of the predictions have Wacha's value not even close to the QO. Fangraphs says 20 mil for 2 years. Still a nice pitcher but his peripherals scream "regression".
 

Yaz4Ever

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Wacha will probably get less than 3/$36, but who knows. I'd be more inclined to grab him on a one-year at a higher AAV than make a three-year commitment.

I guess from a team-building perspective, he's another guy it's a drag we weren't able to trade at the deadline. But on the plus side, if he lands a decent deal somewhere else, Wacha's 2022 is proof that it's possible for the Sox to sign a starting pitcher to a pillow contract, something that's usually reserved for hitters.
If we were able to get him for 3/36, I'd be in favor of doing so. I understand your desire to go short on years, but I think he's well worth the $12m per.
 
They've already got nine starters on the 40-man roster, and ZERO relievers above replacement value (counting Houck and Whitlock as SPs). Adding more back of the rotation starters does not make this team better, especially adding older fragile reclamation projects. The assumption that you can fill the bullpen with guys who don't cut it in the rotation is ridiculous.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Schreiber is above replacement value, but point taken.

It‘s mildly interesting to hear that the Sox are in on Heaney, Anderson, etc but think this just how Bloom operates, he will investigate everyone to see where there is value. All the interest in starters so far does make one wonder what the plan for the rotation is, though.There’s only so many roster spots.

I think the Bloom plan for roster building is very fluid and flexible.
 

Harry Hooper

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They've already got nine starters on the 40-man roster, and ZERO relievers above replacement value (counting Houck and Whitlock as SPs). Adding more back of the rotation starters does not make this team better, especially adding older fragile reclamation projects. The assumption that you can fill the bullpen with guys who don't cut it in the rotation is ridiculous.
Houck pitched 60 innings for the Red Sox in 2022. How many innings should he go as a starter in 2023?
 
Houck pitched 60 innings for the Red Sox in 2022. How many innings should he go as a starter in 2023?
I don't know, honestly. He wasn't consistent enough out of the pen last year. He seemed to be sulking about being moved out of the rotation, so it's difficult to say. He needs to learn to pitch to contact, which he seemed really unwilling to do. It's impossible to say whether or not the back and forth in roles affected him physically. I think he and Whitlock, along with Bello unless he regresses sharply in the spring, are the core of the rotation for the next few years (maybe adding Mata around mid-season). Of the SPs lower down on the depth chart, only Crawford seems as though he might have potential as a late-inning guy, if he can groove that cutter consistently. I don't think that the two-seamer guys like Seabold and Winckowski have much potential in the bullpen. Perhaps Pivetta is better suited to relief.
 

ehaz

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They've already got nine starters on the 40-man roster, and ZERO relievers above replacement value (counting Houck and Whitlock as SPs). Adding more back of the rotation starters does not make this team better, especially adding older fragile reclamation projects. The assumption that you can fill the bullpen with guys who don't cut it in the rotation is ridiculous.
Yep. I don’t get the fascination with converting Whitlock, who has not thrown more than 70-odd innings in a season since A ball 5 years ago. Take the bullpen ace you have right now over the potential of a 5 inning #3 starter.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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The problem with Whitlock in the pen is the amount of rest he seems to require; it’s very hard to have a relief ace who doesn’t go on back to back days and needs multiple days off after throwing two innings. He’s simply not available enough to be used optimally. If they ease back on these restrictions, than I can see him keeping him in the pen, any word on if that will happen?
 
The problem with Whitlock in the pen is the amount of rest he seems to require; it’s very hard to have a relief ace who doesn’t go on back to back days and needs multiple days off after throwing two innings. He’s simply not available enough to be used optimally. If they ease back on these restrictions, than I can see him keeping him in the pen, any word on if that will happen?
Well, to be fair they were using him in that awkward multi-inning stopper role, so had to give him a couple of games to recuperate. Even then, his effectiveness seemed to wane down the stretch. If they only used him for single innings, we should assume he could make more appearances. However, they appear to have promised him a spot in the rotation.
 

simplicio

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Have there been any signs that the FO is working on retaining Strahm? I'd be happy to see him back.
 

chawson

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Houck pitched 60 innings for the Red Sox in 2022. How many innings should he go as a starter in 2023?
The Sox prepping Houck as a starter — and loudly announcing it — strongly suggests to me he’s being shopped. He’s a lot more valuable to teams who think he’s not done in the rotation, where he’s got a 2.85 FIP.

Otherwise, he’s potentially seventh in our rotation depth chart? Sale, Whitlock, Pivetta, Bello, Paxton with possible reunions with Eovaldi and Hill in the works.

With Bello, Whitlock and Sale entering the rotation and Hill, Wacha and Eovaldi each reportedly interested in returning, the Sox could have some attractive trade chips in Pivetta, Houck and Crawford, if they go that route.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The Sox prepping Houck as a starter — and loudly announcing it — strongly suggests to me he’s being shopped. He’s a lot more valuable to teams who think he’s not done in the rotation, where he’s got a 2.85 FIP.

Otherwise, he’s potentially seventh in our rotation depth chart? Sale, Whitlock, Pivetta, Bello, Paxton with possible reunions with Eovaldi and Hill in the works.

With Bello, Whitlock and Sale entering the rotation and Hill, Wacha and Eovaldi each reportedly interested in returning, the Sox could have some attractive trade chips in Pivetta, Houck and Crawford, if they go that route.
I think you may be right. I also think that telling pitchers to "prepare to be a starter" doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot in the long run. It's easier to transition from a starter role to a relief role than vice versa. I'd tell all my pitchers to prepare as if they're going to be in the rotation and counted on for 150+ innings. I can't help but think of 2007 when the entire off-season prior the talk was that Papelbon was going to be a starter because it was better for his shoulder. He moved to the pen relatively early in spring training and then had a hell of a season. No ill effects from spending the off-season "preparing" to be a starter.
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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Pedroia was forever injured on a dirty play and collected a paycheck until his contract ran out. Sale has had a rash of injuries and is collecting a paycheck until his contract runs out. Furthermore, it's possible at least that the reason Sale gets injured so much is that he is pitching hurt and its causing him to overcompensate and getting hurt elsewhere. Maybe not, but... maybe.
Fair point, Sale was not "in decline" but he had shoulder issues that seemed to raise a red flag for a number of people. I should have said that he had issues that were predictable, not that he was in decline.
Also, this is purely subjective and I respect your opinion, but I personally have no faith that Sale gets 20-25 starts this season. I know, I have no evidence of that other than the last 2 seasons, (and I really do not mean that to be as snarky as it sounds, I promise). I hope I am wrong. But I don't see it happening and we will have to agree to disagree.
Oh, ffs, we've been through this. Machado had absolutely nothing to do with Pedroia's knee. Pedroia has only himself to blame for rushing back against medical advice and not allowing himself to heal properly. Remember that it was his SECOND surgery on the knee, and he wasn't expected in the lineup until Memorial Day, but instead started playing full games in spring training and appeared on Opening Day.
He missed all of five games after "the slide". Repeat. Five. He played nearly 100 more games that season, including the playoffs, and it was the third surgery after the season that he never really returned from. "The slide" was deemed legal by MLB and Pedroia himself. If it had been Trout making the same slide, would you be complaining? It makes for a great clickbait narrative, but it's not true.
 

Max Power

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So he was injured by Machado's slide, gutted it out for the rest of the season and his career was basically ended by the offseason surgery that attempted to repair the damage. I'm not seeing a problem with the characterization, especially since the same guy has a habit of stepping on first basemen's ankles.
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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So he was injured by Machado's slide, gutted it out for the rest of the season and his career was basically ended by the offseason surgery that attempted to repair the damage. I'm not seeing a problem with the characterization, especially since the same guy has a habit of stepping on first basemen's ankles.
His "gutting it out" and returning too soon is what caused the injury, not a slide.
 

Apisith

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I really don’t have confidence in the rotation, even if Eovaldi opts in. But the Steamer projections aren’t bad, even you don’t believe Sale will give us 161 innings like they’re projecting. Some upside there as well, Houck’s only being projected for 3 starts and 87 innings. He can give us a lot of good innings starting if (when?) Sale breaks down again. Paxton’s only being projected for 121 innings, which should be doable two years out from his surgery.

https://www.fangraphs.com/projections.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&type=steamer&team=3&lg=all&players=0

The bullpen’s the real problem, if you take these projections at face value.
 

Yaz4Ever

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Eovaldi was offered a multi-year deal per Bradford. I love eovaldi, but I'm a little leery of him going forward. Fastball velo down to it's lowest since his second major league season. Chalk it up to pitching hurt most of the year?

View: https://twitter.com/bradfo/status/1591803515625738243?s=20&t=_kmRWlM4Uxmy5FP90PVdpw
2 years is a multi-year deal. Maybe it's nothing that locks us in too long. I can think of worse than him for the next couple of years based on his track record for us.
 

YTF

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They should try Barnes as a spot starter, nothing to lose at this point. Houck needs to be the closer.
Matt Barnes? Thirty two year old Mat Barnes who has pitched 431.2 innings in 429 MLB games? His MLB starting experience spans 11 innings in 2 games back in 2015 and his high for innings pitch in a single season is 69.2. I'd say it's highly unlikely that the Sox go that route. Also it seems to me that "nothing to lose" is the road you take when you have no other options.
 

YTF

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Well, to be fair they were using him in that awkward multi-inning stopper role, so had to give him a couple of games to recuperate. Even then, his effectiveness seemed to wane down the stretch. If they only used him for single innings, we should assume he could make more appearances. However, they appear to have promised him a spot in the rotation.
Interestingly enough, out of 22 relief appearances he pitched 4 innings once, 2.2 once, 2.1 twice, 2 innings 10 times and 1 inning 8 times. Roughly a third of his games were single inning appearances, yet he only pitch consecutive days once on July 24th (1 inning) and July 25th (2 innings).
 

scottyno

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I don't know, honestly. He wasn't consistent enough out of the pen last year. He seemed to be sulking about being moved out of the rotation, so it's difficult to say. He needs to learn to pitch to contact, which he seemed really unwilling to do. It's impossible to say whether or not the back and forth in roles affected him physically. I think he and Whitlock, along with Bello unless he regresses sharply in the spring, are the core of the rotation for the next few years (maybe adding Mata around mid-season). Of the SPs lower down on the depth chart, only Crawford seems as though he might have potential as a late-inning guy, if he can groove that cutter consistently. I don't think that the two-seamer guys like Seabold and Winckowski have much potential in the bullpen. Perhaps Pivetta is better suited to relief.
How was Houck not consistent out of the pen? Once they moved him into the late inning role he was pretty close to perfect
 

simplicio

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One presumes the FO is aware of Eovaldi's velocity and either think it's a temporary downturn or has priced any multi-year offers accordingly.
2 years is a multi-year deal. Maybe it's nothing that locks us in too long. I can think of worse than him for the next couple of years based on his track record for us.
 

scottyno

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22 late inning relief appearances, 26.1 innings, 22 hits. 4 clean innings. He didn't break often (only 5 earned runs) but it usually wasn't pretty and didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence to those of us who watch the games.
Giving up slightly over 1 baserunner an inning and almost never letting them score isn't confidence inspiring? His only blown save was the game in New York where he got babiped along with his throwing error and still managed to pitch out of 2 bases loaded jams to win the game. His numbers in save situations were even better.
 
Interestingly enough, out of 22 relief appearances he pitched 4 innings once, 2.2 once, 2.1 twice, 2 innings 10 times and 1 inning 8 times. Roughly a third of his games were single inning appearances, yet he only pitch consecutive days once on July 24th (1 inning) and July 25th (2 innings).
Most elite relievers pitch single-innings 2 or 3 times per week, and rarely pitch more than that single inning. He pitched multiple innings 63 percent of the time. That usage is abnormal. I'm not saying it was bad, just countering the original statement that he seemed to need more rest than usual. The reason they used him like that was mainly that everyone else in the pen was horrible and could not be trusted to hold a lead.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Most elite relievers pitch single-innings 2 or 3 times per week, and rarely pitch more than that single inning. He pitched multiple innings 63 percent of the time. That usage is abnormal. I'm not saying it was bad, just countering the original statement that he seemed to need more rest than usual. The reason they used him like that was mainly that everyone else in the pen was horrible and could not be trusted to hold a lead.
I don’t think that’s true; they’ve had a very strict program with Whitlock since they’ve acquired him, he almost never pitches back to back and he gets several days off if he pitches more than two innings. As he gets farther from his injury, I imagine that should change, but his current restrictions make it really difficult to use him optimally because they have been so rigid with usage and rest.
 

GB5

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We can assume the front office knows how to evaluate Evoladi’s health in light of his downturn in velocity. However this ownership group greenlighted a massive and lengthy contract to Sale when there was multiple instances of his arm health being severely compromised, prior to his deal.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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We can assume the front office knows how to evaluate Evoladi’s health in light of his downturn in velocity. However this ownership group greenlighted a massive and lengthy contract to Sale when there was multiple instances of his arm health being severely compromised, prior to his deal.
Multiple instances? Sale went on the IL in 2018 with shoulder inflammation. That's the end of the list of instances of his arm health being "severely compromised." There was always talk of his frame and his violent delivery being a recipe for elbow problems eventually, but until 2019, after the extension was signed, there were no visible signs of it. The revisionist history has to stop.
 

joe dokes

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One presumes the FO is aware of Eovaldi's velocity and either think it's a temporary downturn or has priced any multi-year offers accordingly.
Even at 99, Eovaldi was not a high-strikeout pitcher. It wasn't until he started commanding and throwing his other stuff that he became really effective. Maybe that bodes well for him going forward with diminished velocity.
 

RedOctober3829

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Out of Eovaldi and Wacha, I have more faith in Eovaldi to bounce back to around where he was in 2021 than I do of Wacha continuing his 2022 run. His BABIP of .260 is unsustainable given the MLB average is .297 and he had 3 consecutive seasons before '22 of it being above .300. Also unsustainable is his OPS against of .693.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Am I the only one that though there was a fair chance he would accept? Oh well, now the downside if that we get a comp pick and 20 mil to spend elsewhere if he doesn't re-sign.
Once news came out that he and the team were talking multi-year deal, I figured he'd decline it. If he accepts it, maybe (probably) those talks die. 1/$19.65M isn't a terrible consolation I guess, but I suspect Eovaldi isn't interested in going year to year and this might be his last chance at locking himself in for a few years.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm a little surprised. He was injured and didn't look like his expected self in the short time he was back before the end of the season. I'm guessing there's discussion about a longer term deal with the Sox exclusively. I can't imagine another team will touch him for that amount and lose the draft pick.
Maybe another team is out there with a 3/36 that I can squint and see...
 

Ganthem

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Out of all the pitchers on the free agent market, Evoldi is the one I hope they bring back. The fact they are engaging him in talks shows that they are not overly worried about his health. Unlike Redon or Degrom, he has been pretty durable the last few years and he is not almost forty. I really hope Bloom gets it done.
 

nvalvo

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Another multi-year offer to Eovaldi scares me, frankly. I guess they have a sense of his health; they'd better. I like the guy a lot, but he's already the most accomplished multiple TJS recipient, and he finished the season with considerably diminished velocity.

Here are a few pitchers' combined line over the last six seasons.

Pitcher A: 469 IP, 87 GS, 115 ERA+, 3.30 FIP.
Pitcher B: 519 IP, 94 GS, 111 ERA+, 3.79 FIP.
Pitcher C: 568 IP, 95 GS, 149 ERA+, 2.66 FIP.

Pitcher A is James Paxton;
Pitcher B is Nathan Eovaldi;
Pitcher C is Chris Sale.