Much has been made about the Mets needing to fill the holes free agency has made in their starting rotation. It's a fair point. They do need to replace Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassit and Taijuan Walker. But with that said, I'd still prefer what the Mets currently are working with to what the Red Sox have.
Mets Starting Rotation (as of right now):
Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.29)
Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.97)
David Peterson (7-5, 3.83)
Tylor Megill (4-2, 5.13)
Elieser Hernandez (3-6, 6.35)
Red Sox Starting Rotation (as of right now):
Chris Sale (0-1, 3.18)
Nick Pivetta (10-12, 4.56)
Brayan Bello (2-8, 4.71)
James Paxton (Recovering from Tommy John surgery)
Kutter Crawford (3-6, 5.47)
Neither of these options are very pretty but the key difference here is the Mets seem much more active in the premium starting pitching market whether it be deGrom, Justin Verlander or Carlos Rodon, The Red Sox don't appear to be in those same circles and they have pitchers from last years staff in Michael Wacha, Nathan Eovaldi and Rich Hill all sitting out there in free agency. If you don't think those pitchers are worth getting exciting over, they did combine to go 25-12 with as 3.81 ERA in 79 games started. If you take those three pitchers out of the starting rotation, the team ERA jumps to 4.78.
I can hear some of the Fenway Faithful now. Yes, Chris Sale and James Paxton will obviously be bigger contributors for the team next year. But how much can you count on either guy? Sale has thrown less than 50 innings since 2019. That's actually better than Paxton who has only thrown 22 innings over that same three year time period. Both will also be 34 years old next season. To expect either of them to throw a full season seems unlikely. If you expect both to do so, you have a better chance of seeing David Harbour win an Oscar for Violent Night than Sale and Paxton combining for 60 starts.
Of course, there is a lot of off-season left. That's why, despite Frank the Tanks's constant complaining the Mets are sitting on their hands, I'm not worried yet. The only major free agent other than Tyler Anderson to change teams so far has been Jose Abreu to the Astros and that was just this week. By all appearances and rumors, Chaim Bloom seems more focused on re-signing Xander Bogaerts and keeping Rafeal Devers than prioritizing the pitching staff. Obviously, those players are crucial to the team but why wasn't this handled before the season or even in October? It's not like the Red Sox has playoff plans.
What free agent pitchers should they be focused on? They need two guys at the top of that rotation and if you're going to have Sale and Paxton in that staff, you will need guys who are durable. If they are serious about competing next season, they'll need one of the big three in Verlander, deGrom or Rodon. For that second spot, Chris Bassitt would be perfect for the Sox but going after Jameson Taillon or even re-signing Eovaldi would really help. But if you throw Verlander and Bassitt on top of that rotation, you have a contender. Does this have any chance of happening? About as much as this movie does of winning Best Picture:
If you told me the Red Sox were going to commit to tanking, I'd applaud it. Imagine if a true large market team tanked for three years and put the money they saved away for a giant splurge when the tanking was over, you'd really have something. The Astros are the greatest model of this but as far as large markets go, I guess the Cubs are the best example. I just don't see a path to success for the Red Sox with this current strategy. They are coming off a last place finish and need to replace some key players even beyond the pitchers I spoke about earlier. Xander is a free agent but so is J.D. Martinez.
Resources certainly can not be an excuse after yesterday's news in the below blog. And as I mentioned, they have a ton of time to go fix this pitching staff. But if you had to bet your life on it, who do you see the Red Sox signing: Justin Verlander or Taijuan Walker?
Finally, Violent Night opens wide across theaters tomorrow.