Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

Answer me this: why is Steven Wright still on the Red Sox?

Wright had another setback Wednesday, this time in the form of an 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. It marks the latest episode in two-and-a-half-year saga that has kept the right-hander off the mound.

After injuries, an arrest, and now a positive steroid test, it’s fair to wonder why the Red Sox continue to stand by a 34-year-old knuckleballer who has barely pitched in 3 years. Let’s face it: Wright is a pitcher who has been in the Red Sox organization since 2012 and has cobbled together less than two seasons worth of quality pitching at the big league level.

There’s really no reason to keep him around at this point.

Wright was an All-Star in 2016, his first full year in the major leagues. But the then-31-year-old saw his season derailed when manager John Farrell made the ill-advised decision to have him pinch-run in Los Angeles. Wright injured his shoulder diving back into second base and was never the same.

Wright’s 2017 season ended almost right after it started. He opened the year with an 8.27 ERA in five starts before undergoing season-ending cartilage-restoration surgery in his knee.

In December of 2017, Wright was arrested in Tennessee following an argument with his wife and was charged with domestic related assault and preventing a 911 call. Wright denied physically harming his wife and prosecutors agreed to retire the case, but he was still suspended 15 games in 2018 as a result of the incident.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright (35) throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics in the sixth inning at Fenway Park.

Upon return from suspension and injury, Wright pitched out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, making 16 total appearances before his knee flared up again on the day of Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees. He was removed from the roster and didn’t pitch again in 2018.

There were no guarantees Wright was even going to pitch much this year before the {ED suspension. He hadn’t thrown off a mound this spring and recently said his knee would likely never be the same again following the 2017 surgery.

Does that sound like the type of pitcher the Red Sox can count on moving forward?

Even if he does come back in June and his knee can handle being on the mound, he won’t be eligible for the postseason as a result of his PED suspension. What’s the point in having Wright on the team at all? His roster spot is better served going to someone who might be able to pitch in October.

Two suspensions, three seasons cut short due to injury, enough is enough. The chances of Wright helping the Red Sox at this point appear slim to none.

It’s time to move on.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.