By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
In dire need of some pitching help, the Boston Red Sox are among the teams who have expressed ‘initial interest’ in free agent starter Matt Shoemaker, according to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network.
A 34-year-old righty, Shoemaker posted an 0-1 record and 4.71 ERA in 28.2 innings over six starts for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020, and tossed three innings of shutout ball in Toronto’s series-opener game against the Tampa Bay Rays this past postseason.
With the Jays over the last two seasons, injuries have limited Shoemaker to just 11 starts in total, with a 3-1 record, 3.14 ERA, and 50 strikeouts in 57.1 total innings of work. In fact, injuries have limited Shoemaker considerably since 2017, with just 32 starts over the last four seasons between the Jays and Los Angeles Angels.
The injuries thrown Shoemaker’s way have been nothing short of devastating, too; Shoemaker suffered a small skull fracture and small hematoma when a line drive hit him in the head at the end of the 2016 season, and dealt with forearm issues (and eventually surgery) the following season. And after that, switching from Los Angeles to Toronto, Shoemaker suffered a torn ACL on a rundown.
But when healthy, Shoemaker would definitely represent an end-of-the-rotation upgrade to the Sox, who opted not to retain Martin Perez in 2021, and in a rotation seeking more MLB-quality arms.
Shoemaker definitely checks off some of the analytic boxes that Chaim Bloom would be looking for, too, with back-to-back seasons of a batted balls in play average of .194 or under, and with 20 percent of the contact Shoemaker surrendered in 2020 categorized as ‘soft’ contact (a career-best for the eight-year pro).
Overall, Shoemaker has compiled a 43-33 record and 3.86 ERA in 104 career starts between the Halos and Blue Jays.