Red Sox

McAdam: With Sale's arrival, Sox set to ship out other starting pitchers

McAdam: With Sale's arrival, Sox set to ship out other starting pitchers

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Now that they've done with additions, it may be time for the Red Sox to start subtracting.

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Having obtained reliever Tyler Thornburg, starter Chris Sale and first baseman/DH Mitch Moreland, the Red Sox have addressed all of their obvious roster needs in one hectic day at the annual winter meetings.

 

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed that the team is through looking for bullpen help, and the position players -- and reserves -- are all accounted for.

But the acquisition of Sale leaves the Red Sox with a total of seven established starting pitchers on their major league roster -- likely one too many.

"There's really not room for seven starters,'' conceded Dombrowski. "We also have three guys we like behind that - (Henry) Owens, (Roenis) Elias and (Brian) Johnson. So we're pretty deep in that regard at this point.

"As you know, you never have enough pitching. That's the old adage. But I would say that (moving one of the established starting pitchers) is something we'd at least be open-minded about.''

It just so happens that the Red Sox starting pitching surplus coincides with a particularly thin free agent class. Rich Hill, at 36 and with a ominous injury history, was the best starter available, but signed Monday with the Dodgers for three years, $48 million.

That leaves a mediocre group that is headed by Ivan Nova and a handful of other back-end arms.

The most logical starter for the Red Sox to market would be Clay Buchholz, since moving him would also relieve the team of his $13.5 million salary.

In other winters, the Sox might have to subsidize that salary in order to attract any bidders. But given that Buchholz would almost certainly earn more than that figure were he a free agent, it's likely the Sox can move Buchholz and his salary, too.

If Buchholz doesn't attract bidders, the Sox have an excess of lefthanders in the rotation and could move Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz is under control for two more seasons and being lefthanded won't hurt his marketability.

It's doubtful that the Sox would be tempted to shop Eduardo Rodriguez, since he makes virtually no money and at, 23, has the highest upside of any of the pitchers not named Sale, David Price or recent Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.

It may behoove the Sox to wait before moving a starter, since the longer they wait, the more teams could become desperate for rotation upgrades.

Kevin Pillar excited for 'amazing opportunity' with Red Sox

Kevin Pillar excited for 'amazing opportunity' with Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox made an under-the-radar move to add depth to their outfield earlier this week. They signed former Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar to a one-year deal to add a righty-hitting bat to their lineup.

Pillar has only been with the team for a short time. And his presence won't soon make the Red Sox fans forget about Mookie Betts. But he does seem motivated to find success in Boston.

"I think it's an amazing opportunity for me," Pillar said to reporters at the Red Sox spring training facility on Saturday. "I think anytime you get to put a Boston Red Sox uniform on, it's something to not take lightly. It's a historic organization, an organization that's always trying to win.

"I feel like I'm best suited for a team that's trying to win. My style of play is conducive for going out there and doing whatever it takes to try to get a win every day. And I'm excited for an opportunity to try and do that here."

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Pillar also seems comfortable with his teammates and is already building chemistry with the squad.

"Just in the day and a half I've been here, the guys have been very welcoming," Pillar said. "It seems like a close-knit group of guys and I'm excited to get this thing started.:

This certainly is encouraging for the Sox. Pillar is definitely bringing a good attitude to the job and being hungry to win should give him a chance to pan out as a successful signing.

Pillar will likely start the Red Sox season as the starting right fielder. Alex Verdugo -- the big piece acquired in the Betts trade and likely the future starter in right field -- may not be ready to start the season as he deals with a stress fracture in his back.

Pillar has mostly played center field during his career but stated that he's happy to move to right field to allow Jackie Bradley Jr. to continue to play his best position.

Last season, Pillar hit .259 and socked a career-high 21 homers while spending most of the season with the Giants. The Red Sox will hope that he can continue to supply power in the hitter-friendly confines of Fenway Park.

Stress fracture in back could delay the start of Alex Verdugo's season with Red Sox

Stress fracture in back could delay the start of Alex Verdugo's season with Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is recovering from a stress fracture in his back and probably won't be ready for Opening Day, though the Red Sox said Saturday they do not anticipate long-term issues.

Verdugo traces the injury to his first exposure to Tampa Bay's turf last May. An oblique strain exacerbated the issue, and he shut things down in August. He made one rehab appearance in September before feeling acute pain on his first swing, and he hasn't played since.

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"I was dealing with a little bit of stiffness, something I could get treatment on and work through it and then feel good," Verdugo said. "Then we played in Tampa Bay and obviously playing on the turf out there, I think it kind of just blew out my back a little bit as my first time really being on turf with metal spikes. And just after that, I felt a lot more discomfort."

Tests revealed an L-5 fracture, according to Verdugo. Manager Ron Roenicke said the Red Sox were aware of the injury before acquiring Verdugo from the Dodgers as the centerpiece of the Mookie Betts trade.

"It's healing nice and the images that he's taken through the offseason, it continues to heal," Roenicke said. "It's not healed completely, but it's in a progression where they're really liking how it's coming along. It's an injury that takes time. It takes a lot of time for this to heal. It's an injury that is fairly common in baseball because of the rotation – it's a rotation issue. So our trainers are familiar with it and we'll take him as the steps come, not only what the images show but his response to things."

Roenicke added that the Red Sox won't rush anything.

"To be honest with you, if everything goes right, he still may not be ready for Opening Day," Roenicke said.

That's OK with Verdugo, who's considering the big picture.

"We have something that we can draw out and kind of know the exact timeframe of it, whether it's to be ready for the start of the season or slightly after," Verdugo said. "We're not really sure. We're not trying to rush that. We don't want to give fans or give people false hope or just even a deadline that we miss again. So we're going to take our time and make sure that we're right. So that way, when I am playing, when I'm able to be in Boston, that it's the whole year and it's continuous."