The New York Yankees recently lost starter Luis Severino for the 2020 season with Tommy John surgery. Giancarlo Stanton, who sometimes seems to get injured just by breathing, has a calf strain and is uncertain for Opening Day.
The Yankees are a powerful defending division champion, but who knows? With these injuries and other aging players, perhaps the A.L. East is a bit more up for grabs.
Gee, if only the Red Sox had a homegrown superstar who could help lead them back to first place.
If you think the Cubs spent the winter trying to cleverly stay under the $208 million luxury tax level, the Red Sox never made a secret they were going to do that. They came right out and said it at the end of the 2019 season:
Red Sox owner John Henry spent 68m on Eovaldi last winter and $145m on Chris Sale’s extension in March knowing Mookie’s extension + JD’s opt-out were looming. Now he’s saying, “We need to be under the CBT. That was something we've known for more than a year now."— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) September 28, 2019
So not only is there no Mookie Betts extension, he’s gone, traded to the Dodgers along with David Price. In return the Red Sox got Alex Verdugo and a bunch of prospects.
Which is all well and good if you’re trying to rebuild, but that hasn’t been the case in Boston for a couple of decades, at least.
Sure, Verdugo is a decent player and might do all right in Boston, but he’s no Betts.
The Red Sox also need some starting pitchers, in part because:
Roenicke says Sale will be on injured list to start season. Says he’s about 2 weeks behind.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 27, 2020
Roenicke says Sale’s season-opening delay is entirely due to his recovery from pneumonia. Says he’s doing great with buildup of his arm now that he’s healthy. Sox want him to get 6 starts this spring before he pitches in regular season.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 27, 2020
So at least it’s not Chris Sale’s arm that’s bothering him now, but he’ll still be delayed to start the season. And it’s not like Boston has a lot of starting pitching depth — their depth chart lists only four starters, including Sale.
Oh, wait. Did I say it wasn’t Sale’s arm?
Chris Sale has a sore elbow. Red Sox sent him for MRI.— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) March 3, 2020
Other than that, the Red Sox will look pretty much like the team that won 108 games in 2018, then 84 in 2019, minus Betts and Price. Oh, and there’s still the matter of punishment coming to Boston for alleged sign-stealing that might have been masterminded by now-dismissed manager Alex Cora.
And Dustin Pedroia, who has played only nine MLB games since 2017, will again start the year on the 60-day injured list. At this point, seriously, he probably ought to just retire.
Oh, it’s going to be just a fine season at Fenway. The Red Sox followed a 97-win World Series title year in 2013 with a 91-loss season the following year. They very well could finish under .500 again in 2020.
KEY ADDITIONS: Alex Verdugo, Kevin Pillar, Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Perez, Jose Peraza
KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Mookie Betts, David Price, Brock Holt, Andrew Cashner, Steve Pearce, Rick Porcello
The Cubs will face the Red Sox June 19-20-21 at Wrigley Field. It will be Boston’s first visit to Wrigley Field since 2012.