The Boston Red Sox didn’t make any massive signings before the MLB lockout went into effect, but they did make a few that are worth noting.
All three of those guys are pitchers.
Boston hasn’t signed any position players yet this offseason (although the team did trade for one).
So, when it comes to the Hill, Paxton, and Wacha signings, how do the additions measure up against each other?
Which of those guys will end up being the most valuable pre-lockout addition for the Red Sox in 2022?
Let’s rank the three signings.
3. Red Sox Sign Paxton
Paxton is a pretty big wild card going into 2022.
James Paxton agrees to Red Sox deal
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 1, 2021
First of all, he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery, and it seems like there’s a big chance he won’t be ready for the start of the season.
Second of all, when he is ready to play, it’s tough to predict what kind of player the Red Sox are going to get.
He hasn’t been an effective pitcher since 2019.
That said, when he’s at his best, he’s capable of being a really productive arm.
He broke into the big leagues and 2013 and maintained a 3.50 ERA, 3.28 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP from 2013 through 2019.
If he can get back to similar levels of production (or something remotely close), he could end up being a nice addition for Boston.
2. Wacha Inks Deal With Boston
Wacha will likely be in Boston’s rotation at the start of the season.
Right-hander Michael Wacha and the Boston Red Sox are finalizing a one-year contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Wacha, 30, was solid in a starting role for Tampa Bay last season and is expected to bring depth to the Red Sox’s rotation. Deal is pending a physical.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 26, 2021
But in order for him to remain in the rotation throughout the entire course of the 2022 campaign, he’s going to have to perform better than he did in 2021 (and 2020, for that matter).
It has been a rough couple of years for the righty, who has a 5.39 ERA since the start of the 2020 season.
His most recent serviceable season came in 2019.
That year, he posted a 4.76 ERA, but really, he was lucky to have an ERA in that ballpark, as he also had a FIP of 5.61.
Here’s the upside: Wacha is just 30 years old, and we’ve seen some really encouraging things from him in the past.
In 2018, he pitched to a 3.20 ERA over 15 starts.
In 2015, he earned an All-Star selected and registered a 3.38 ERA, 3.87 FIP, and 1.21 FIP.
Over the first three years of his career, he maintained a 3.21 ERA.
The Red Sox would love to see that type of production from him in 2022, but it remains to be seen whether that’s realistic or not.
His age makes it seem like he should still have some gas left in the tank.
Maybe he isn’t capable of pitching an All-Star-caliber level anymore, but if he can merely be serviceable and eat innings for Boston, that would be a win.
1. Red Sox Sign Hill
Hill always seems to find his way back to the Red Sox.
The southpaw will spend the 2022 season with the club, marking his third separate stint with the organization.
Source: Rich Hill and Red Sox in agreement on a deal.
— Sean McAdam (@Sean_McAdam) December 2, 2021
Boston’s deal for Hill is a very intriguing one.
This guy is 41 years old, but he’s still an effective arm.
In the 2021 season, he posted a 3.86 ERA across 32 outings (31 starts).
Over his last eight MLB seasons, he has been able to maintain a 3.15 ERA, 129 ERA+, 3.67 FIP, and 1.11 WHIP.
As long the veteran doesn’t run out of steam in 2022, it seems like the Red Sox are going to have a really solid rotation piece on their hands in Hill.