BOSTON (CBS) — If they want to compete in 2021, the Red Sox are going to need some more pitching. Lots more pitching.
That is expected to be the focus of Chaim Bloom and company in free agency this winter, and according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Red Sox are among the teams to express “initial interest” in veteran righty Matt Shoemaker.
Source: #RedSox among teams to express initial interest in free agent RHP Matt Shoemaker, who started Game 1 of the Wild Card Series for Toronto. He posted a 4.71 ERA in 6 regular-season starts. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 9, 2020
The 34-year-old is 43-33 with a 3.86 ERA over his eight-year career for the L.A. Angels and Toronto Blue Jays. After spending the first six years of his career in Los Angeles, Shoemaker has spent the previous two years in Toronto, though he hasn’t done much pitching in that span. He made just six starts for the Blue Jays in 2020, sporting a 4.71 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 28.2 innings, striking out 26 while issuing nine walks. He made just five starts in 2019, going 3-0 with a 3.95 ERA over 28.2 innings before his season ended in April after he tore his ACL.
Overall, Shoemaker has made just 18 starts since the beginning of the 2018 season. He made just seven starts for the Angels in 2018, missing a chunk of the season with a forearm injury that also cost him time in 2017.
But while injuries are a concern with Shoemaker, his command is not. The veteran has issued just 147 free passes over his 602 innings pitched over his career, sporting a 1.182 WHIP.
Shoemaker got the start for Toronto in Game 1 of the team’s Wild Card series against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020. He threw three shutout innings against the eventual AL champs, allowing two hits while striking out two.
The Red Sox are in need of starting pitching after the team’s starters finished the 2020 season with a 5.34 ERA and 1.56 WHIP — with both ranking at the bottom of MLB. There are already question marks in the 2021 rotation, with Chris Sale will start the season on the shelf as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez an uncertainty as he deals with myocarditis stemming from his bout with COVID-19.