BOSTON (CBS) — With regard to David Price and his ailing left elbow, two things.
First, this is precisely why the Red Sox should have kept Clay Buchholz instead of trading him to the Philadelphia Phillies, purely to shed salary.
And second, this year the Red Sox should still be in the postseason, where they would have been foolish to count on Price anyway.
In case you missed it, the Red Sox announced this morning that Price has been scratched from his next start with elbow soreness that is so troublesome that he has scheduled an appointment with renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews, the grim reaper of the baseball world. Those who consult Andrews often receive bad news, and it would surprise no one if Price returns from his visit with the knowledge that he is facing season-ending surgery.
But before you shove the entire 2017 Red Sox season down the drain and into the garbage disposal … well, don’t. The Sox still have enough pitching to make the playoffs and win the American League East. And if the Red Sox were relying on Price to win in October, well, they wouldn’t have gone out and acquired Chris Sale.
Now as for the Red Sox’ World Series hopes … ouch. But then, that’s why you don’t necessarily trade most of your elite prospects for a three-year championship window.
But we digress.
Obviously, losing Price is a blow, if for no other reason than the fact that the Red Sox needed his innings. At worst, Price would have been an effective No. 2 or No. 3 starter on this team for the long haul of a 162-game schedule. That may now be gone. And if it is, the Red Sox still have Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright behind Sale and Rick Porcello, which should be more than enough to keep them in playoff contention and, perhaps, beyond.
Which brings us to Buchholz.
We said it then and we’ll say it now: dumping him for financial reasons was dumb. And it will look even dumber if and when Rodriguez, Wright or Pomeranz goes down – heaven help the Sox if Porcello or Sale gets hurt – because the Sox will then be turning to Henry Owens (who got walloped yesterday) and/or Kyle Kendrick. Love Buchholz or hate him, his upside is high … or at least higher than those two.
But of course, Buchholz is gone, so there is no point in belaboring that one (at least too much) anymore. If and when the Red Sox find themselves in contention this summer – and, again, they still should – Dave Dombrowski now may be forced to make another pitching acquisition at midseason, as he did with Drew Pomeranz a year ago. The difference is that Dombrowski has already dealt away a number of the Sox’ top prospects during his brief time with the team, which leaves the Sox vulnerable on multiple levels.
Does that mean the Sox are done for the short term and the long? Of course not. But pending the news on Price – and it doesn’t feel good – the Red Sox have backed themselves into a corner now.
They’ve loaded up for the 2017-19 seasons, and it certainly feels like they’re too far in now to turn back.