When the epitaph for the 2020 Red Sox is written -- a cynic would suggest it's being drafted as you read this -- it's likely one recent quote from manager Ron Roenicke will crystallize their predicament.
Asked the other day about the possibility of replacing Ryan Weber (11.57 ERA, 2.249 WHIP) in the team's rotation, Roenicke, in a brutal assessment of the team's pitching depth, asked: "Who do we have that we can say we're going to put in that's going to be better than Ryan?''
Well, now. That about sums it up now, doesn't it?
No disrespect to Weber, but he's about to turn 30, is on his fourth organization, and sports a career ERA of 5.41. And mind you, through no fault of his own, Weber occupies not the fifth spot in the rotation, but the third.
It's not Weber's fault that Chris Sale and now Eduardo Rodriguez are down for the season, or that David Price was shipped out. But that's where things stand, speaking volumes about the talent deficiency in the Red Sox pitching staff.
Occasionally, Weber can be counted on to throw off an opposing lineup's talent with his off-speed stuff. But the lack of velocity, in a game where the average fastball is now 92 mph, is a difficult hurdle to overcome. There's virtually no margin for error. When Weber is precise, he can trick a lineup a few times through; when he's the least bit off with his command, balls are scorched all over -- and out of -- the ballpark.
There are alternatives available, and, no we're not talking about a journeyman like Chris Mazza, Austin Brice and Matt Hall. While they may have a few more mph on their fastballs than Weber, they each lack above-average stuff.
The Sox could, in theory, turn to some younger arms. This week, it was revealed that the Sox are stretching out a few of their younger arms at their alternate training site at Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium, including Darwinzon Hernandez, Bryan Mata and Tanner Houck.