After throwing his first live batting practice of the spring, Boston Red Sox starter Chris Sale experienced elbow soreness. Sale went for a MRI today, and the plan is for Dr. James Andrews to evaluate the results. Manager Ron Roenicke also acknowledged that there is a level of concern regarding the lefty’s elbow.
Chris Sale has a sore elbow. Red Sox sent him for MRI.
— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) March 3, 2020
Not great Bob! After last season where Chris Sale was both bad and hurt, the Sox were expecting their ace to be back. Right now, that doesn’t seem like the case: especially if Dr. Andrews is the one looking at the MRI.
I wrote on Monday how Boston is going to need a big year from Michael Chavis, but if Sale is down for the count it may not matter what Chavis does.
The Red Sox starting rotation is already a huge question mark going into 2020. If Sale misses a significant amount of time (like I expect), Boston’s rotation consists of Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, and two players to be named later: talk about gross.
You could hang your hat on the fact that E-Rod pitched lights out last season, but that was the first time in his career that he went over 137 innings. Obviously it is possible he truly is a rotation staple like he showed last year, but after watching him throughout his career I don’t know if he can stay healthy. The same goes for Nathan Eovaldi, who has already had multiple elbow surgeries in his eight year career.
If both Eovaldi and Rodriguez do get hurt, Boston’s “ace” becomes Martin Perez. If Chaim Bloom and the rest of the front office truly expects to compete this year, you can’t consider the guy with a 2019 ERA of 5.12 to be the go to guy.
But what is the next option? Hector Velasquez? Brian Johnson? Ryan Weber? Someone in the minors? Regardless, their lack of starter depth has become apparent very quickly and the calendar JUST flipped to March.
Boston can go out and sign someone still sitting in the free agent pool, but I doubt a Clay Buccholz / Andrew Cashner reunion is really going to help them in the long run. If Sale is out, the hope for this season goes straight down the toilet, making an already bad offseason a worse one.
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-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)