The Red Sox have already missed out on a free-agent target for pitching
The Boston Red Sox’ off-season is not off to the most promising start.
Obviously, there’s plenty of time and plenty of players available for Boston to make moves big, small, and somewhere in the middle. But they’ve already lost out on at least one free agent that they were reportedly looking into signing.
That would be starting pitcher Tyler Anderson – not to be confused with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Ty Anderson – who is signing with the Los Angeles Angels, according to Jeff Passan. His deal is for three years and expected to be in the $39 million range.
Jon Morosi had previously reported that the Red Sox and Angels were both showing interest in Anderson. So, clearly, that’s an early L for Chaim Bloom, if he really wanted Anderson to come out east. Instead, Anderson will make a short drive from Los Angeles proper to the Anaheim area.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 15: Tyler Anderson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning against the San Diego Padres in game four of the National League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 15, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Anderson is coming off easily his best season, a true contract-year explosion. He went 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 28 starts for the Dodgers. He struck out only 138 batters in 178.2 innings, but he walked only 34, resulting in an excellent 1.002 WHIP. Another big difference was he cut the home runs in half, with only about 2.0 percent of plate appearances resulting in dingers, down from 4.0 percent in 2021.
Ultimately, $13 million per season is solidly middle-of-the-road money for a starting pitcher, so GMs clearly still viewed him as a mid-rotation starter at best. But the Sox could certainly use an addition like Anderson, especially after Nathan Eovaldi declined his qualifying offer and could sign elsewhere.
The Red Sox will still have Chris Sale in 2023, and appear set to move Garrett Whitlock to the rotation permanently, while Brayan Bello may have untapped potential. Veteran James Paxton is under contract despite missing all of 2022 with various injury issues. Nick Pivetta is arbitration-eligible for 2023.
If they feel confident that Sale will finally return to form in 2023, they could still use an established starter for the top of the rotation, or perhaps a solid No. 3. That would preserve depth and protect them against any regression from Whitlock or Bello, or further health problems with Sale and Paxton.
Jul 12, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Assuming the Red Sox’ interest in Anderson was legitimate, it’s an indication of the direction Bloom is looking to take with the rotation. Boston seems highly unlikely to be in on high-priced free agents like Jacob de Grom, but a dependable and durable starter could be on the way. Or so we hope.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.