In late November, the Atlanta Braves signed free-agent pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year, $15 million deal. He had offers from multiple teams including the Red Sox. The veteran right hander ultimately chose to pitch closer to his Florida residence than pitch in Boston.
Right-hander Corey Kluber and the New York Yankees are finalizing a deal that will bring the two-time AL Cy Young winner to the Bronx, pending a physical, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 16, 2021
So What Gives?
The Red Sox have now missed out on two starting pitchers who could have bolstered their flawed rotation. Boston was said to have made a “competitive offer” for Morton, if that’s the case what happened with Kluber?
From the beginning, Boston was a potential landing spot for Kluber. There was reason for optimism he could pitch for the Red Sox, he lives 17 minutes from Fenway Park and his wife is from Massachusetts. But the mere fact he’s a Massachusetts resident wasn’t going to be enough to land the two-time CY Young award winner.
During his rehab process, the Yankees were connected to Kluber. They were the likely favorites because of Kluber’s connection to Eric Cressey. He was Kluber’s former strength coach and now oversees the Yankees strength-and-conditioning programs.
There was another connection for Kluber that led him to the Yankees, Matt Blake. The former Holy Cross pitcher and current Yankees pitching coach also had a relationship with Kluber. Both worked together during their time in Cleveland.
The Yankees will now hope that Kluber is finally healthy after two lost seasons. He is trying to find his old form and feels he’s finally healthy and ready to contribute for the Yankees this season.
What’s Next For the Red Sox?
The Red Sox fan base is growing impatient waiting for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom to sign an impact free agent. With Kluber off the board, the Red Sox will probably focus their attention towards Jake Odorizzi who they’ve been connected too.
Boston has been casting a wide net in searching for pitching this offseason. Despite having the money to make a splash, Bloom has been methodical in his approach. The Red Sox are not just looking to spend money for the sake of doing so, but at some point they’ll need to make a move.
As the winter moves forward, the Red Sox will need to get more aggressive in their pursuits in starting pitchers. There are still many names on the market that could help this team, including left-hander Rich Hill.
Boston could also look to current Yankees free-agent starter Masahiro Tanaka. With New York adding Kluber and now being heavily linked to Cincinnati Reds ace Luis Castillo, Tanaka could be the odd man out.
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) January 16, 2021
The Red Sox missing out on Kluber will sting, especially with him landing in the Bronx. Kluber is a “low-risk” candidate who will be a middle of the rotation starter for the Yankees. If he remains healthy and gets back to form, he could be leading the rotation with ace Gerrit Cole.
Interest is Waining
The Yankees were likely the clear choice from the beginning for Kluber. His connections with the pitching coach and strength-conditioning coordinator helped immensely. New York needed more depth in their rotation, just like Boston. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman expressed interest and followed that up with the money to land the veteran.
In less than five weeks, the Red Sox have been in on almost every starting pitcher. Morton decided to stay closer to home and pitch in Atlanta. Kluber literally lives in the backyard of Boston and decided to pitch in New York.
There’s portions of the Red Sox fan base who have been patient and letting Bloom follow his plan. The team has shown interest in every player who could help their rotation, but the fan base is beginning to scrutinize Bloom.
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– Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique on Twitter)