Column: Sale Injury Just the Latest Domino to Fall in Chaotic Offseason

Column: Sale Injury Just the Latest Domino to Fall in Chaotic Offseason

by March 3, 2020 0 comments

When it rains, it pours in Boston.

No, seriously.

The movie that was 2019-20 offseason for the Boston Red Sox would likely receive a 62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It wasn’t a failure, as they did revamp the farm system with the Mookie Betts and David Price trade. However, the rest of it flopped.

Alex Verdugo is a nice player but comes with serious baggage. Jeter Downs can tear the cover off of the baseball, but he’s blocked within the organization and projects as a second baseman. As for Connor Wong? He looks impressive in Spring Training but is more than a season away from being major league ready.

But that’s neither here nor there because there’s still a season to be played in 2020. And while many had already punted on this Red Sox team for one reason or another, others wanted to see this thing through. While there was a state of uncertainty in the back-end of the rotation, Ryan Weber, Tanner Houck, and Brian Johnson each looked impressive. Health was already a concern, but once Chris Sale was to be activated off of the injured list around April 7, they’d still have a solid rotation on paper.

Needless to say, Sale’s return has experienced a setback.

On Tuesday, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported that Chris Sale experienced elbow soreness the day following his live batting practice session. As a result, he underwent an MRI, and the images were sent to Dr. James Andrews.

A bad omen for Red Sox Nation, and for the team itself.

Usually, when elbow soreness and Dr. James Andrews are in the same sentence, the next one runs as follows: (Fill in player name here) has been recommended for Tommy John Surgery and will be out for the season.

The only “bright side” here for Red Sox Nation is that David Price wasn’t recommended for Tommy John Surgery when he visited Dr. Andrews before the 2017 season. However, one team can only get so lucky when it comes to this.

The 30-year-old southpaw is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, posting career-worsts in ERA (4.40), innings pitched (147.1), home runs per fly ball (19.5 percent), as well as his second-worst FIP (3.39). Combine that with an injury-shortened second half and you’ve got an entire fan base questioning your newest contract.

Five years worth $150 million. A contract that undoubtedly contributed to the notion that Mookie Betts had to be traded. A contract that could’ve been avoidable had Boston held off on extending him before the 2019 season. While he is no doubt a top-five starting pitcher in baseball when healthy, the Red Sox haven’t gotten a full season of a healthy, dominant Chris Sale.

This is just the latest domino to fall for a chaotic offseason filled with backtracking. Mookie Betts and David Price both traded, Dustin Pedroia experienced another injury setback, Rick Porcello leaving for Queens, Brock Holt signs with the Brewers, and now your most expensive (and skilled) starting pitcher is experiencing elbow soreness after one live batting practice session.

That pouring rain from before has now become a typhoon.

Time will tell on if this injury scare is truly just a scare, or something more serious. However, for the time being, the once bleak postseason hopes for the 2020 Boston Red Sox now look even bleaker.

Oh, and Opening Day is still three weeks away.

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