The Boston Red Sox don't have much depth at all in their starting rotation. They have Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Martin Perez set to be the top four pitching options for them, but the fifth spot in the rotation/post-opener pitcher is yet to be determined.
One possibility for that role is Ryan Weber. The 29-year-old debuted for the Red Sox last season after making 24 appearances for three organizations over the course of the previous four years. He had some success but finished the season with a 2-4 record, a 5.09 ERA, and 29 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings pitched.
While Weber's numbers didn't look great in his time with the Red Sox, they still evidently believe that he could be a key part of their pitching staff moving forward.
“He knows how to pitch. When to mix it up and when to attack,” Roenicke said of Weber per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe. “He’s got a good feel. He throws strikes.”
Weber does have a variety of pitches that he throws, but one that the Red Sox are focused on utilizing more is his cutter.
“We talked about it a little bit last year. But it was something new and he was a little reluctant to try it,” pitching coach Dave Bush said per Abraham. “Over time he got more comfortable with the idea. We really impressed upon him the importance to the rest of his pitches.”
If that cutter does give Weber the opportunity to mix it up more and keep hitters off balance, perhaps he will be an effective part of the team's pitching staff. After all, he did have a 1.29 ERA in his first 14 innings with the Red Sox last year before teams figured him out. With an extra pitch at his disposal, it will be tougher for opponents to do that in 2020.
But Weber just has one goal in mind ahead of the 2020 season. Make the Opening Day roster and be ready to play whatever role the Red Sox want him to.
“If I get the ball in the first inning or the third inning, I’m going to pitch the way I pitch,” Weber said per Abraham. “I’m comfortable starting or relieving.”
So far during spring training, Weber has been effective. Over the course of two outings, he has pitched five innings, allowed one unearned run, and has struck out seven batters, good for second-most on the team.