So what’s going on here? Is Sale OK and are the Red Sox looking to trade him after foolishly signing him to a five-year, $145-million contract that has yet to even begin? Or is Sale injured and are the Red Sox busy trying to find ways to completely rebuild their starting rotation as a result?
Let’s remember that the Red Sox are in a fairly tight predicament. They want to shed about $30 million or more in payroll while addressing needs at first base, second base and on the mound. They have a thin farm system. And they want to contend at the time.
Somebody - or somebodies - must go. And we mean somebody (or more than one) from the group of Nathan Eovaldi ($17 million), David Price ($31 million), Chris Sale ($25.6 million) and, yes, Mookie Betts, the last of whom has a projected salary of $27.7 million next summer and will be a free agent at the end of the 2020 season.
Make no mistake, what Dombrowski’s Sox achieved this year was every bit as extraordinary as in 2018: for the first time in a long, long time – maybe ever? – the Red Sox played a season in which they were largely irrelevant.
The Red Sox are now 9-11 behind Price this season and just 8-14 behind Chris Sale, a combined record of 17-25 that would translate into roughly 66-96 over a 162-game schedule. More importantly, the Sox are just 1-3 behind Price and Sale since beginning their 14-game gauntlet against New York and Tampa Bay – and 5-0 behind everybody else.
Don’t look now, Red Sox followers, but the news that David Price has landed on the injured list has left the Sox in a rather curious position. Forty percent of the team’s starting rotation is now on the IL, Price (elbow tendinitis) joining Nathan Eovaldi (elbow surgery) on the sideline. No one can possibly know how Sox pitchers will fare in the long run this season, but the idea was to bring them along slowly so that they would all be at maximum strength in September and October.