As the off-season gets underway, much of attention around the Red Sox has been focused on the free agency Xander Bogaerts and the ongoing contract talks with third baseman Rafael Devers, but it Boston is showing early interest in adding pitching this winter. Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports that the Red Sox are “digging around the pitching market”, and have been linked to Andrew Heaney and Seth Lugo among others. Jon Morosi of MLB Network has more on their interest in pitching, stating they’ve shown interest – alongside the Angels – in starter Tyler Anderson.
Boston does have a reasonable amount of pitching signed for next season, but a most of it comes with major question marks. Chris Sale is owed $27.5MM but has made just eleven starts in the past three years. James Paxton opted into his $4MM player option for next season, but he didn’t pitch at all in 2022. Brayan Bello showed promise in eleven starts in 2022 and could have a bright future, but those were the first eleven starts of his major league career and he’s still raw. The Red Sox are intending to use Garrett Whitlock as a starter in 2023, but he’s pitched better out of the bullpen and made just nine starts this season. That leaves Nick Pivetta as the only dependable option in Boston’s rotation at this stage, so it’s no surprise they’re looking to add pitching.
Anderson has enjoyed something of a late breakout with the Dodgers this past season. He generally checked in as a solid, back of the rotation starter across his first six seasons in the majors with the Rockies, Giants, Pirates and Mariners. With the Dodgers however, he tossed 178 2/3 innings of 2.57 ERA ball, easily the best numbers of his career and first since 2016 where his ERA had finished under four. A lot of that was due to restricting the long ball, as Anderson’s HR/9 more than halved from 2021 (1.46 down to 0.71). Anderson did receive a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, so there’s every chance he accepts that one-year, $19.65MM deal and returns to LA.
Heaney, on the other hand, was not tendered a qualifying offer but also enjoyed his own breakout campaign. He pitched to a 3.10 ERA through 72 2/3 innings as a result of leaning more on his slider and less on his changeup. Those numbers came with a significant increase in strikeout rate, as he posted a 35.5% rate, well above his previous high of 28.9% in 2019. He did miss around three months across two separate IL stints with left shoulder problems,…