If there’s one thing the Boston Red Sox need entering the 2024 season, it’s starting pitching.
It’s hard to look that far ahead in the future, but there are a few factors that make it fairly obvious. The recent injury history of Chris Sale, Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck doesn’t exactly spark hope that they can be relied on over the course of 162 games. James Paxton is about to enter what is likely his final free agent payday. The farm system lacks high-end pitching prospects who look ready to take a Brayan Bello-esque leap to the big leagues.
The Red Sox are going to need to rebuild parts of their rotation, which is why they’re already being connected to a pair of top free agent pitchers entering the winter.
In a ranking of the top free agents entering the 2024 offseason, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tabbed the Red Sox as potential suitors for two extremely notable arms: Lucas Giolito and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
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The tie to Giolito makes sense if Boston hopes to make a bigger splash down the line, as there isn’t much hope left that he can become a bona fide No. 1 starter. The 29-year-old was traded to the Angels at the deadline but has posted a 1-4 record with a 6.67 ERA in five starts, highlighting the disaster that was LA’s approach. He’s obviously been better than that throughout his career (4.35 ERA) and has surpassed 150 innings in five of the last six seasons.
The tie to Yamamoto? That’s a fun one. The 25-year-old has won both the Pacific League MVP and the Sawamura Award (Japan’s version of the Cy Young Award) in each of the past two years while compiling a 1.77 ERA over the course of seven seasons. He’s an ace who will likely be paid to be one should the Orix Buffaloes — from whom the Red Sox signed Masataka Yoshida — post him this winter. Boston reportedly has been keeping an eye on Yamamoto this season.
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