Mookie Betts: traded away in his prime. Chris Sale: Tommy John surgery. It’s safe to say that Boston Red Sox fans aren’t having a great time this offseason. Slashing salaries isn’t unheard of in Boston: what happened when they shipped off Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers was preceded by that massive deal that got rid of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford back in the day. Remember that? There’s no denying that Boston should still be a formidable group offensively, but there are a couple reasons why you should absolutely bet on Boston to post under on their MLB over under of a .520 win percentage this season. DraftKings is listing those odds at -112. Let’s get into why it doesn’t matter that J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and company will score runs.
With Sale now ruled out for any 2020 campaign due to Tommy John surgery, it looks like Boston’s starting rotation would be Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Collin McHugh and Ryan Weber. Rodriguez has double-digit strikeout upside every time out and is coming off a career-best campaign in which he went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA over 34 starts. But, he’s been wildly inconsistent throughout his career on a start-by-start basis, which isn’t optimal as an ace. After helping the Sox win a title back in 2018, Eovaldi was awarded with a massive multi-year deal that he instantly ruined when he posted a 5.99 ERA over 23 appearances (12 starts) in an injury-ridden 2019 campaign. Perez has a 4.72 career ERA and posted a 5.12 ERA over 32 appearances (29 starts) with the Minnesota Twins last year. At this point in his career, he’s an innings eater. McHugh made 35 appearances (eight starts) for the Houston Astros last season and posted a 4.70 ERA over 74.2 innings. Finally, Weber made 18 appearances (three starts) for the Sox last season and posted a 5.09 ERA over 40.2 innings. As a 29-year-old journeyman, he’ll also be an innings-eater. With a starting rotation full of innings-eaters it is going to be tough to think the people who make MLB picks will be backing the Red Sox this year, even if it is just moneyline picks. With this being said, Boston’s bullpen will most likely be heavily taxed.
Brandon Workman very quietly emerged as an elite closer last season. He will likely be supported by Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Darwinzon Hernandez, Marcus Walden and Ryan Brasier, among others. With Boston’s starting rotation looking so poor, the team will most likely be forced into getting a ton of innings out of this bunch. Even in a shortened season, this will likely become a major issue, especially against powerhouse lineups in the American League like the MLB consensus picks for the AL pennant the New York Yankees and Astros. While the aforementioned names are all serviceable options, none of them possess electric stuff that can truly overpower opposing hitters like some other squads have the fortune of having in the later innings. If this season gets underway, don’t expect much out of the Red Sox.