The Boston Red Sox have a couple of holes in the back end of their starting rotation. But it looks like at least one of them has been filled for the time being.
The Red Sox may rely on Ryan Weber as a part of their rotation, at least to begin the season. Ron Roenicke virtually confirmed this fact on Monday.
"I think Weber has shown -- whether he’s going to be a fourth starter, fifth starter or an opener, and what happens with Chris [Sale] -- I think he’s a guy we feel like can do it," Roenicke said of Weber, per WEEI's Rob Bradford. "The other guys we’ve extended out, I wouldn’t say anybody has shown us, hey, they can do it. I think when we brought them into camp, we felt like their history, they have a chance to do that. So as we go farther in camp and figure out - right now we have two spots with Chris not throwing right now, we have two spots where we give guys an opportunity to do it. Hopefully, we see something."
This isn't too big of a surprise, as Roenicke spoke highly of Weber earlier during spring training. So far this February and March, Weber has logged seven strikeouts in five scoreless innings for the Red Sox. If he can get stretched out and continue to produce, he will be a solid option for the team.
That said, there's no guarantee that will happen. Weber had a 2-4 record with a 5.09 ERA for the Red Sox last season and late in the year, he really struggled, logging a 12.71 ERA in his final five appearances. But perhaps the 29-year-old has turned the corner and will pitch more like he did at the beginning of last year when he allowed just two runs in his first 14 innings pitched.
In reality, the more concerning part of Roenicke's statement is the latter half of it. If nobody else steps up as a fifth starter, the team will have to rely on openers to carry them. And while that could work fine, the lack of depth behind potential openers quickly could become a problem for the Sox.
We'll soon see if the Red Sox can piece together a rotation. For now, though, they seem to be confident in Weber. So until he gives them a reason not to trust him, he'll likely be a part of the starting rotation.