Nick Pivetta never unlocked his full potential with the Philadelphia Phillies.
As such, the right-hander is welcoming a change of scenery as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
“It’s great to be with the Boston organization. They’ve made it really prevalent that they value me as a starting pitcher, and that’s what I believe I am,” Pivetta told reporters Monday during a video conference. “Obviously I wasn’t pitching well enough out of the bullpen with Philly to put myself into that opportunity to be a starter and they chose to go with some other arms over me. So being traded and having that opportunity is really important to me, and I’m looking very much forward to that.”
The Red Sox recently acquired Pivetta and pitching prospect Connor Seabold from the Phillies in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.
Pivetta has yet to debut with Boston, instead reporting to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket in wake of the deal, but it likely won’t be long before the 27-year-old has a chance to audition for a spot in the Red Sox’s depleted rotation.
“I think all things happen for a reason,” Pivetta said of the trade. “I’m very grateful for my time in Philadelphia and all of the lessons that it’s taught me and all of the relationships I have. I’m very grateful for that, but I’m also grateful for this opportunity to be a starter.
“(The Phillies) obviously had some guys that were ahead of me and that’s what they had their eyes set on. There was no room for me to be a starter there at this time or, it seemed like, moving forward. So, to be with an organization that values me as a starter, I’m just super grateful for that opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Pivetta, a fourth-round pick in 2013, made just three relief appearances with Philadelphia this season, during which he allowed 10 earned runs on 10 hits — including three home runs — over 5 2/3 innings.
Ugly, no doubt. And really, it was a continuation of 2019, when Pivetta struggled to adjust to the Phillies’ pitching philosophy while flip-flopping between the rotation and bullpen.
But there was a time when Pivetta looked like a legitimate big league starter. His 4.77 ERA in 33 appearances (32 starts) in 2018 doesn’t necessarily jump off the page, but his 3.79 FIP and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings that season suggested there was significant upside.
“It definitely hasn’t gone the way that I’ve wanted to, but I’ve been given an opportunity here for a fresh, new beginning,” Pivetta said, looking back on the past couple of years. “It’s just taking what I’ve learned from my past experiences and moving forward in developing into the pitcher that I know that I can be, that the Boston Red Sox believe that I can be.”
So, what exactly should the Red Sox expect?
“I’ve always had a powerful fastball. I’ve had a very good curveball. I feel like my slider has gotten tremendously better over time, and then just working in a changeup,” Pivetta said. “I’ve gotten some really good feel for it in the past, I’d say, about two months. Really emphasizing working on that pitch, just so I can have that four-pitch mix.”
Pivetta will turn 28 before next season. He’s appeared in 92 games at the major league level, including 71 starts.
So, it’s not as if he’s some raw, up-and-coming hurler the Red Sox will look to completely transform. But some tweaking here and tinkering there might help Pivetta maximize his strengths, minimize his weaknesses and ultimately attain the consistency that eluded him in the City of Brotherly Love.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images