How Alex Cora, Chaim Bloom Feel About Red Sox Pitchers Set To Return

Plus: Bloom praised Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck


Oct 25, 2021

The Boston Red Sox are headed towards an offseason with a few questions — Will Kyle Schwarber return? What’s the latest on Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers? — but their pitching staff should alleviate some concern given both Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi remain under contract.

Those sentiments seemed to be shared by both Red Sox manager Alex Cora and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom during the organization’s end of season press conference Monday.

“I do believe over the course of the season we did an outstanding job with our pitchers, and our rotation was solid,” Cora said. “One of the reasons we ended up winning the Wild Card and we got to where we ended up is because of those guys.”

Red Sox pitchers compiled a 4.09 ERA before the All-Star break and a 4.47 ERA thereafter.

“I think, obviously, with Chris (Sale) being healthy, that’s a plus. The way he finished the season I think everybody here and everybody in the organization feels very positive of his offseason program and what’s going to happen next year,” Cora added. “There’s some young guys that we liked and we’ll make decisions over the course of the offseason, on how we’ll use them next year. But we feel very comfortable with where we are pitching-wise. I think we made some huge strides over the course of 162 and the playoffs and going into the offseason we’re very pleased with where we’re at.”

Perhaps Boston’s biggest question when it comes to its staff will be in regards to starter Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez has shown, especially when he’s able to command his fastball, he’s a valuable starter in the rotation. If Sale returns to full health next season, as expected, Rodriguez likely would serve as a No. 3 starter behind Sale and Eovaldi. That would give Boston three good options, if the finances line up.

After all, Rodriguez is set to become a free agent which means the Red Sox will have to determine whether to extend a qualifying offer. It sounds like Bloom & Co. haven’t made any decisions on that sort of stuff yet.

If Rodriguez does opt to sign elsewhere, however, the Red Sox still have a pair of pitchers who could certainly help in relief, and perhaps even help enter the starting rotation.

Bloom spoke highly about both players — Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck.

“Those are both guys that have very high ceilings. They have the capability, both of them, to be really good major league starting pitchers,” Bloom said during the press conference. “Now, what that means for next year in terms of what they did this year, I think that’s something we have to talk about. Obviously, we want to have as much depth as we possibly can.

“We shouldn’t sit here and stop at five or six or seven (pitchers). We should have as many options as we possibly can because over the course of a marathon, and then into the postseason, you need everybody. And the more good options you have, the more you put yourself in a position to realize some positive surprises out of that group, too.

“But both those guys have the upside to be really impactful starting pitchers,” Bloom said.

Garrett Richards and Martín Pérez are two additional pitchers who have team options this offseason. Both started games for the Red Sox this season, but went to the bullpen when Sale returned and Houck flourished. Fellow bullpen hurler Adam Ottavino, like Rodriguez, is set to become a free agent.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Red Sox pitcher Garrett Richards
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