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The Boston Red Sox Starting Rotation Stinks

Getty Images.

Last week, the last remotely decent free agent starting pitcher went off the board when Michael Wacha signed with the San Diego Padres. Wacha was easily the best starting pitcher the Red Sox had last year. Admittedly, that's not saying much because the Boston starting rotation had an ERA of 4.49 last season which was good enough for 22nd in the majors.

They didn't just lose Wacha in the offseason. Nathan Eovaldi went to the Texas Rangers and Rich Hill will be in Pittsburgh. Along with Wacha, those three pitchers combined to go 25-12 with a 3.81 ERA. You may not value a pitchers individual win/loss record but the Red Sox themselves went 41-28 (.594) when those guys took the mound. When they didn't? The Red Sox went 37-56 (.398).

To replace those three guys, they've signed one: Corey Kluber. He is a two-time Cy Young Award winner but those days are long gone. He did make 31 starts for the Rays last year and his brilliant control was still intact but he didn't have a good season. He gave up way more hits/9 IP than he ever has in a full season and he had trouble striking guys out. He's going to be 37 next year and his ceiling will likely not be much better than what you saw last year when he had an ERA+ of 84.

So I tweeted this after Wacha signed:

I didn't think this was inflammatory at all. It felt pretty factual to me. All off-season I've tried to be really honest here and on Twitter with how awful the Red Sox winter was. This team is going to be pretty awful this year and will have to battle with the Orioles just to avoid last place. Considering the high ceiling Baltimore has with a great farm system and a full season out of Adley Rutschman, I don't think it's a hot take to say Boston has the worst team in the AL East. Hell, they finished in last place in 2022 and have lost Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Story, JD Martinez and the pitchers I mentioned. 

The Red Sox stink. I assumed everyone knew this. That's why I was surprised to see tweets like this:

No it's not.

Chris Sale: He's pitched a total of 11 games since the pandemic started. In 2019, he had an ERA of 4.40. You have to go back to FIVE SEASONS AGO to see the great Chris Sale and he was even showing signs of breaking down at the end of that year. 

Brayan Bello: I like this guy. He was dominant in the minors last year. He gave up way too many hits in the big leagues but still only allowed one home run in 57 MLB innings. Big talent but he's ideally a backend piece.

Garrett Whitlock: He's been an awesome reliever but it's a stretch to immediately say he's going to be a key member of a "good group" of starting pitchers. Whitlock has 9 career MLB starts and is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA. He's another question mark.

Corey Kluber: Already went over him.

Tanner Houck: He's similar to Whitlock in that he's a good pitcher but is not someone you can necessarily count on. He's never pitched 70 innings in a MLB season and had 20 career major league starts. When he has started, he has been better than Whitlock.

James Paxton: Paxton has made 6 starts since 2019 with a combined 6.65. He's also 34 years old. Here's a picture of him because it's been so long since he pitched that you might have forgotten what he looks like.

Kathy Willens. Shutterstock Images.

Nick Pivetta: He's a dependable league average pitcher. He'd be a solid 5th starter on an elite team.

Josh Winckowski: 5-7, 5.89 ERA in 77 IP with Red Sox last year.

Kutter Crawford: 3-6, 5.47 ERA in 70 IP with Red Sox last year.

That's not depth. Those are warm bodies.

Giphy Images.

I do understand that with Spring Training coming up, hope springs eternal. But if your front seven starting pitchers have a combined 90 games started last year, you have some massive question marks.

I hate the Yankees. I will admit my bias. None of these Sox pitchers (including Sale) would crack the top four starters in the Yankees rotation. The same is true for the Dodgers, Mets and Astros. It's not just me who thinks the Red Sox are not a good team. The Barstool Sportsbook has the over/under on wins set at 76.5. That's the lowest amount in the AL East. 

The blame for this mess rests at the feet of Chaim Bloom. He's put together a lousy ballclub. Fans should absolutely be angry. Although, I'm not sure deluding yourselves that this is a good group of pitchers will help very much.