Boston Red Sox

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 20: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox walks back to the dugout after the second inning of Game Five of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on October 20, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Red Sox made a number of roster moves on Monday, getting their roster set for Opening Day on Thursday. Among those moves – placing starting pitcher Chris Sale on the 60-day IL with a ‘right rib stress fracture.’

Sale originally suffered the injury during a player-organized workout towards the end of the MLB lockout. He has not participated in Spring Training. The injury will now cost him at least the first two months of the 2022 season, with Monday, June 6 being the soonest he can return.

This will be the third year in a row Sale misses significant time. He sat out the entire 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, then missed most of last season due to recovery and complications from that surgery. He ended up making nine starts, going 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA. Sale also made three appearances in the playoffs, throwing nine innings over three starts with an 8.00 ERA. In total, Sale has thrown 51.2 innings since August 2019.

With Sale out of the picture for the time being, Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta will hold things down at the top of the Red Sox starting rotation. They’ll be followed by Tanner Houck, Michael Wacha, and Rich Hill, with Garrett Whitlock potentially an option to step in if needed. Alex Cora announced the expected rotation on Monday.

Sale’s open 40-man roster spot was given to 27-year-old righty reliever Tyler Danish, who the team signed to a minor league deal back in February. Danish appeared in 11 games for the Chicago White Sox between 2016 and 2018, but hasn’t appeared in the majors since. He’s come on strong this spring, allowing just four hits and one earned run in six innings of relief. His five appearances are tied for the most by a Red Sox pitcher in Spring Training.

In their other Monday moves, the Red Sox reassigned pitcher John Schreiber and outfielder Franchy Cordero to the minor leagues, and transferred prospect pitchers Jay Groome and Brayan Bello from Triple-A Worcester to Double-A Portland.

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Mazz: How the Red Sox may (should?) try to sell Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Trevor Story on remaining together

  • Pay Bogaerts and entice him to move to third

    Oct 5, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) hits a two run home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning of the American League Wildcard game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 5, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) hits a two run home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning of the American League Wildcard game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Will this be easy? No. Would Bogaerts do it? Unclear. His idol was Derek Jeter, who played his entire career with one team at one position. Presumably, Bogaerts covets something similar, but he might not be able to get both. The highest-paid shortstops and third basemen both make in the range of $30-$35 million per season and Bogaerts qualifies as one of those players. How the sides negotiate the ultimate value and length of the deal is open to debate, but something in the range of six years and $190 million (give or take) seems fair. That would bring Bogaerts[ earnings to $250 million over a nine-year period and at least help rectify the fact that he has been underpaid over the last two seasons.

  • Move Rafael Devers to DH and pay him at a premium

    Oct 3, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) hits a go-ahead two run home run against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 3, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers (11) hits a go-ahead two run home run against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    If Story and Bogaerts are both on the left side of the infield, well, guess what? Devers won’t be. Part of the reason the Sox haven’t approached Devers about a long-term deal is probably because they don’t want to commit to (and pay) him as a third baseman, where he has ranked near the bottom of qualifying players in many advanced defensive metrics over the last four years. (In the aggregate, he is last among 15 qualifiers over the last four seasons.) The point? Devers’ future is probably as a DH and J.D. Martinez is a free agent at the end of this season. The top designated hitters really make somewhere in the range of $20-$25 million per season. Devers adores Bogaerts – and with good reason. So pay him like a top-of-the-market DH and maybe extend the contract on the longer side. Unlike Story and Bogaerts, Devers bats left-handed. That is critical for the balance of the Boston offense.

  • Move Story to shortstop, where he has more value

    Sep 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) fields the ball in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (27) fields the ball in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Despite much of what you read and hear, Bogaerts is hardly a problem at shortstop. But Story is better. As long as Story is reasonably productive away from Coors Field – and this is always a concern with any former member of the Rockies – his contract with the Red Sox is completely in line with his value. Right now, he is one of the higher-paid second basemen in the game. If he moves to short, the Red Sox will get better value on the deal (which Story signed up for). By moving Story and Devers to shortstop and DH, respectively, the Red Sox can get much better value on those contracts and justify paying Bogaerts at the top of the market as the face and leader of the team.

NEXT: Mazz’s five keys to success for the Red Sox in 2022