Why Mike Foltynewicz Should be on Chaim Bloom’s Radarby Jordan Leandre July 28, 2020 0 comments
If the goal was to remain competitive despite the topsy-turvy offseason, the Boston Red Sox haven’t seemed to have gotten the memo. Following an ugly 7-4 defeat at the hands of the New York Mets, the Red Sox have fallen to 1-3, tied for the worst record in the league.
Great baseball starts and ends with pitching, but outside of Nathan Eovaldi, this staff looks lost out there. The losses of David Price and Rick Porcello were documented as significant blows at the time, and their departures hurt worse when coupled with Chris Sale‘s Tommy John Surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez‘s myocarditis. Through four games, the team has an earned run average (ERA) of 5.50––eighth-worst in the league––and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better with Matt Hall (career 9.48 ERA and 5.15 FIP) slated to start on Tuesday.
Very seldom does a saving grace fall into your lap, but following a disappointing performance against the Tampa Bay Rays, 2018 All-Star and 28-year-old right-hander Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment, likely ending his career in Atlanta.
His line wasn’t impressive and coupled with a 4.71 SIERA and a 6.8 percent dip in strikeout rate in 2019, it seemed that his time was dwindling with the Braves.
However, he’d fit perfectly in Boston, making him a prime candidate for Chaim Bloom and co. to place a claim on. But why would this be a perfect fit?
1. He was recently an All-Star
While Foltynewicz has never truly given any indication that he’s the same level as his 2018, it’s worth noting that he was an All-Star just two seasons ago.
Why is this important? Because it shows that he’s had success at the MLB level before.
In 2018, Foltynewicz posted a 2.85 ERA, struck out over 27 percent of his batters faced, and finished eighth in the National League Cy Young race. Again, while the data doesn’t indicate he’s poised to regain that level of dominance, having someone who has been an All-Star in the past can light a fire under a team that has looked lethargic in the three games not started by Nathan Eovaldi.
2. Low risk, high reward
The Red Sox have roughly $8 million in luxury tax room for the 2020 season. While it seems likely that the team would rather avoid posting a number anywhere close to the threshold, Foltynewicz is making just $6.25 million in 2020.
Not to mention the fact he’s arbitration-eligible again for the 2021 season.
Bringing in someone with Major League success who makes fewer than $6.5 million is not something you should pass up, especially since he’s shown the ability to rebound after struggles. (Look no further than his 2019 season for proof of that.) Even though he finished with an earned run average above 4.50 and a FIP just shy of five, he did post a 2.65 ERA along with a 3.77 FIP and a 23.8 percent strikeout rate in 57.2 innings following his re-call to the majors on Aug. 6 of last year.
3. What do they have to lose?
This point coincides with No. 2, but that fact is unavoidable.
While Zack Godley shined for four shutout relief innings (seven strikeouts) on Monday, likely securing himself a start the next trip through the rotation, it doesn’t change the fact that Martín Pérez and Ryan Weber are your Nos. 2 and 3 starters. Weber has a career ERA above five as a starter, and Perez hasn’t posted a FIP below 4.50 since an injury-shortened 2015 campaign with the Rangers.
The fact remains that this rotation, outside of Eovaldi, is lacking talent and ability. Bringing in someone like Foltynewicz who has All-Star pedigree could be enough to wake the team up.
If the Red Sox were serious this past winter when they said they still are looking to compete in 2020, they need to do something to prove it. Bringing in guys like Matt Hall, Dylan Covey, and Stephen Gonzales isn’t going to cut it.
This season is a sprint, as each game holds 2.7 times the weight of a normal regular season, so don’t waste time trying to experiment with guys who aren’t major leaguers. Go get someone who has a track record and the ability to put up zeroes every fifth day.
That’s not Dylan Covey. That’s not Matt Hall. That’s not even Zack Godley or Brian Johnson.
That’s Mike Foltynewicz.