Here are 10 starting pitchers in the free agent market the Red Sox might consider
This offseason already presents a very active market for starting pitchers, with teams treating them as Black Friday door breakers ahead of a possible lockout on December 2. The Tigers introduced Eduardo Rodriguez on Monday, celebrating signing his five-year, $ 77 million contract. OK.
On the same day, the Giants announced the re-signing of right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (three-year, $ 36 million) and reportedly approached a two-year deal to re-sign southpaw Alex Wood. Justin Verlander (two years, $ 50 million with the Astros), Noah Syndergaard (one year, $ 21 million with the Angels) and Andrew Heaney (one year, $ 8.5 million with the Dodgers) are also excluded.
The race will continue. According to a major league source, southpaw Steven Matz plans to pick his team (of the eight interested in him) by Wednesday so he can finalize the deal before the scheduled lockout.
This deal is relevant to the Red Sox, who plan to be active in the starting pitching market with Rodriguez leaving.
“We haven’t prepared anything that is close, I would say, but we’re very active in conversations with a few different guys,” Baseball general manager Chaim Bloom said Monday. âWe’ve hit a base with a wide variety of players, pretty much everyone that’s in the market, and it got more serious and more involved with some of them.
âI don’t know if this is going to lead to anything or when, but I think by the end of the offseason we will have added pitchers of all kinds, including starting pitchers. I think this is something that is a clear goal for us. Who it will be or when, I don’t know yet.
Major League sources confirm that the Sox have cast a wide net and been in contact with agents for virtually every available free agent, right up to the top of the market (including southpaw Robbie Ray, who is expected to get the most. big contract this winter).
There are options, even without considering potential trades with teams like the A’s (Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt) and the Reds (Sonny Gray) that are slashing the payroll. Here is an overview of 10 free agents:
|Carlos RodÃ³n *||28||White Sox||132â ||2.37||3.18||2.68||34.6||6.7|
|Max Scherzer||37||Nationals / Dodgers||179â ||2.46||3.26||2.90||34.1||5.2|
|Robbie Ray *||30||Blue jays||193â ||2.84||3.76||3.60||32.1||6.7|
|Steven Matz *||30||Blue jays||150||3.82||4.87||4.09||22.3||6.6|
|Rich hill *||41||Departments / Mets||158â ||3.86||4.91||4.39||22.7||8.3|
|Yusei Kikuchi *||30||Sailors||157||4.41||4.55||5.23||24.5||9.3|
|Jon gray||30||Rocky mountains||149||4.59||3.91||3.98||24.4||9.0|
THE SOURCE: Baseball-Reference.com, Baseball Flyer, Baseball Savant
Top of the market
Scherzer’s excellence makes him attractive to any team with championship ambitions, and his age (37) means he will be available on a shorter term than his younger peers. However, he is still expected to hit a historic average annual value and he is expected to stay in the National League.
Ray re-signed with the Blue Jays for a one-year, $ 8 million contract last winter, then added strength that translated into more speed, overcoming his long-standing aversion to strikes and reduced his mix to (mostly) two throws. and dominated on the way to a Cy Young Award. He is now in line for a deal that could exceed $ 100 million.
Still, Ray’s underlying numbers (elimination rate, walk rate, quality of contact) weren’t much different from Rodriguez’s. As such, given that the Sox have outbid the latter, it’s hard to imagine them making the biggest bid for the former – especially since they would have to forgo a second-round draft pick for the do after rejecting just one. the year, qualifying bid of $ 18.4 million from the Blue Jays.
It’s also worth noting that as a launcher that relies primarily on two locations (four seams and slider), it might be particularly susceptible to a sharp drop in performance if / when its speed declines as it ages.
There are a lot of similarities between Ray and Gausman, pitchers who turned elite stuff into elite results last season while relying heavily on their two best throws (four seam and divider for Gausman). But in two years under Bloom, the Red Sox have only made one contract with more than a guaranteed season – the two-year contract for KikÃ© HernÃ¡ndez last winter – and none with the pitchers.
They are looking at a wider range of contracts, but will they go beyond three years, especially in the high-risk demographic of Pitching? Signing Ray or Gausman would be a surprise.
RodÃ³n is one of the most fascinating pitchers on the market. An NL evaluator described him as perhaps the most dominant starter in the AL on a per-set basis in 2021. But he pitched just 132 innings, landed on the injured list for most of it. of August with what the White Sox described as shoulder fatigue, and saw his fastball speed drop from 95-96 to 92-93 in September. (He was back at 99 in his only playoff appearance.)
RodÃ³n could find himself in a similar situation to Syndergaard and Verlander, both of whom are returning from a Tommy John surgery – a pitcher who deserves a big paycheck but on a short-term contract, given health issues.
Or, based on the fact that he actually pitched last year, he might be in a better position, able to land a longer contract with the option of opting out.
Stroman is perhaps the best true pitcher out there, his mastery and ability to mix four pitches giving him a more solid ground than perhaps any other starter. But their strikeout rate is the lowest in this group, and although they get players on the ground at an elite rate, the Red Sox were the worst majors team last year to turn balls in. ground in strikeouts, making him a questionable choice for Boston unless the team improves their defense.
Matz moved from NL East to AL East in 2021 and provided a solid mid-rotation presence for the Blue Jays. The southpaw has been durable (1 of 17 pitchers with over 150 innings in three of the past four seasons) with an adaptable four-pitch mix, getting slightly more strikeouts than Stroman but fewer than Rodriguez or the level pitchers. top of this list.
It projects itself as a mid-to-end-of-rotation starter that can provide stability – and that isn’t likely to break the bank. He probably belongs to the same class of free agents as DeSclafani and Wood, which means a multi-year tenure but not one that will demolish a budget.
Teams usually pay little attention to ERA at this point, and this is especially true for Gray, who has spent his career at Coors Field. He maintained mid-90s speed throughout his career, was about as durable as Matz, gets swings and misses with his fastball and slider, and his rarely used curveball has the potential. to become a more important ground, creating a potential of bump. in a solid strikeout rate.
In some ways, Gray has been a healthier, more consistent version of Garrett Richards, who the Sox signed as a mid-rotation contributor last winter.
The 41-year-old has just won his highest innings total since 2007 and plans to seek another one-year contract for 2022 with a high priority placed on launching a competitor. The Milton native recently said he has had contact with the Red Sox and there is mutual interest.
While Hill has proven to be durable last year, his strikeout rate has declined from his all-time highs with the Dodgers, and contact against him has grown stronger. That said, he’s shown flashes of dominance, generally offered stability to Rays and Mets rotations, and won’t need a long-term commitment.
Kluber lives in Newton and wanted to pitch for the Red Sox and live at home a year ago. But after two injury-ravaged seasons, he chose to travel to New York believing the Yankees were closer to a title and on New York’s willingness to secure a one-year contract rather than a contract. one year with an option.
Kluber was in better health than the previous two years and looked good at times (like RodÃ³n, he threw a hit), but still missed a considerable time due to injury. That said, it has shown flashes of excellence and could call for a short-term deal loaded with incentives.
Kikuchi was exceptional in the first three months but had a puncture in the last three, ultimately losing his place in the Mariners’ rotation. Most of his struggles in the last period have come against the righties – a considerable problem in an AL East laden with right-handed presses – but despite the poor year-end numbers, he could call for a squad ready to go. betting that his second-half drop was due to the oddity of going from a 60-game season in 2020 to a 162-game campaign in 2021.