For the second year in a row, the Boston Red Sox grab one of the biggest and best arms in free agency.
Last season, the Sox nabbed lefty David Price in the free agent market to a seven year/$217 million deal to head a pitching rotation that needed some big arms and talent.
To start this season, the Sox signed the powerful pitching talents of Chris Sale, one of the most dominant arms in the game.
Per earlier reports last week, Sale looked to be on his way to Washington to become a National in what seemed to be a done deal. Then, in the aughts of Tuesday December 6, it was reported that the Red Sox had cashed in on the ultimate Sale and signed him to a five year/$32 million contract.
For a team that enjoyed a stellar 2016 regular season with disappointment in the playoffs after a Divisional Round Sweep by the Indians, this was a huge move for the team.
The real question, however, is if this move will truly pay off. Especially during playoff time?
My answer: Yes, but with caution.
The Red Sox rotation is set. Three legitimate arms in Price, Sale and this year’s Cy Young Award Winner in Rick Porcello. All big strikeout guys who will give the offense plenty of opportunities to do their thing and score runs while neutralizing opposing line-ups, especially those that boast big left handed bats. So, as far as the regular season is concerned, the Red Sox will probably dominate once again. But it’s the playoffs, and the magnitude of it all that has me worried just a little.
On paper, in a game dominated by pitching, which has an increased value during the postseason, they look to be the most dominant one-two-three punch in baseball. This should three-man rotation will most likely be utilized throughout the playoffs with the off days embedded in each series that allows top starters to pitch two to three times in any given series. The only thing about it is, that’s only on paper.
Price has been notoriously bad during the playoff where his great regular season numbers have substantially decreased during the second season. He has a career 5.54 ERA while posting a 2-8 record in his postseason career. Sale himself has never even pitched in a playoff game, which is a big reason why he opted to leave the White Sox and come to Boston. So, he is really unproven and untested in big situations when the lights are the brightest and the pressure mounts the most.
What all this means is that, yes, this was a great pickup for the Red Sox. One, they’re getting one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball to add to an already impressive rotation. But two, and maybe most importantly, his contract keeps them under the luxury tax which means that they can still go out and get a good to great bat to insert in the lineup in place of David Ortiz. If they are able to pick up this hitter through either trade or free agency, then you would have to put the Sox has a favorite once again this season… on paper.
We will see how everything plays out this season and if they can overcome some recent postseason woes. Signing Sale was definitely a big step forward.
Do you think the Sox got a good bargain? Comment below or find me on Twitter @phenombc3