It has been an interesting offseason for the Boston Red Sox from a pitching standpoint.
The club has made a handful of signings in free agency — all for starting pitchers — but none of the team’s pitching additions have been particularly flashy.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Rodriguez is gone.
The lefty signed with the Detroit Tigers last month, which is certainly a big loss for Boston.
Considering the rotation arms the Red Sox have gained and lost this offseason, have they done enough to enter the 2022 campaign with a playoff-caliber pitching staff?
Let’s take a look.
Gains And Losses
Losing Rodriguez was something that Boston knew was a possibility, but the organization was hoping to avoid it.
At the end of the day, the Tigers were willing to pay big bucks for the southpaw.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and the Detroit Tigers are in agreement on a five-year deal with between $77 million and $80 million, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 15, 2021
The 28-year-old has never thrown a pitch for a big-league team besides the Red Sox, but that’ll change in 2022.
He has a career 4.16 ERA and 3.83 FIP.
He’s a perfect middle-of-the-rotation starter, and his departure is definitely substantial for Boston.
But in the time since Rodriguez signed with Detroit, the Red Sox have gotten busy.
Again, those aren’t blockbuster signings, but they’re likely going to end up being crucial ones — for better or worse.
At least one of those newcomers, and perhaps multiple, will end up in the team’s 2022 rotation.
Let’s talk more about that.
Projecting The Red Sox’s 2022 Rotation With The Pieces The Team Currently Has In Place
After Rodriguez signed with the Tigers, Boston’s projected rotation for next season temporarily looked something like this:
If, for some reason, the Red Sox ended up entering 2022 with a staff like that, it would have been a really suboptimal situation.
But they’re not going to.
After the team’s signings for Wacha, Paxton, and Hill, Boston’s rotation has a lot more options.
If the season started tomorrow, the Red Sox would probably roll with something like this:
In this projection, Houck goes back to the bullpen, Hill and Wacha slide into the rotation, and Paxton starts the season sidelined due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
Obviously, that’s going to be the case with Paxton no matter what.
But on the Houck front, it seems like the Red Sox would still rather use him in a relief capacity for now.
The additions of Hill and Wacha should allow Houck to remain in the bullpen and continue to develop.
Tanner Houck, Wicked 93mph Two Seamer…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/Cpy6UOKRwT
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 9, 2021
Let’s assume that the Red Sox do indeed start the 2022 season with a rotation consisting of Sale, Eovaldi, Pivetta, Hill, and Wacha.
Would that be a playoff-caliber staff?
Here’s how each of those guys performed in 2021:
- Sale: 3.16 ERA and 3.69 FIP over nine starts
- Eovaldi: 3.75 ERA and 2.79 FIP over 32 starts
- Pivetta: 4.53 ERA and 4.28 FIP over 31 outings (30 starts)
- Hill: 3.86 ERA and 4.34 FIP over 32 outings (31 starts)
- Wacha: 5.05 ERA and 4.47 FIP over 29 outings (23 starts)
Let’s also note that some of those guys come with major unknowns.
How will Sale look over his first full season after Tommy John surgery?
How much gas does Hill have left in the tank at the age of 41?
Will Wacha find a way to channel some of his better years?
The answers to those questions could easily determine whether or not the Red Sox have success with that rotation.