The Red Sox are known to be looking for rotation help this winter, and the club has “had varying degrees of contact with virtually all of the top starters on the market,” The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier writes. This includes reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, who hadn’t previously been linked to the Sox on the rumor mill, though it naturally stands to reason that the Red Sox would have interest in such a prominent arm.
Given the wide net the Sox are casting in their pitching search, it isn’t known if Ray is necessarily at the top of Boston’s list of potential targets. Signing Ray would come at a double cost — one of the biggest contracts given to any free agent this offseason, as well as a penalty of $500K reduction from Boston’s international draft pool and a second-round draft pick, since Ray rejected the Blue Jays’ qualifying offer.
The Red Sox might be willing to accept those penalties to sign a top-tier starter like Ray, however, as Speier notes that the team also had interest in another QO free agent in Justin Verlander. “Talks never advanced” too far between the two sides before Verlander agreed to return to Houston on a two-year, $50MM pact, but if the Red Sox were open to surrendering a pick for a shorter-term addition like Verlander, it would stand to reason that they’d also be open to giving up a pick to add Ray on a longer-term commitment. It should be noted that the Sox have some extra draft capital to work with next summer, as since Eduardo Rodriguez rejected Boston’s qualifying offer and then agreed to a deal with the Tigers, the Red Sox will receive an extra selection between Competitive Balance Round B and the start of the third round.
As for other now-signed free agent hurlers, Speier writes that the Red Sox were one of the teams bidding on Andrew Heaney, and the left-hander was given a one-year offer “competitive with the $8.5MM he signed for with the Dodgers.” Speier also notes that the Red Sox didn’t have interest in Noah Syndergaard, which runs contrary to a report from The New York Post’s Joel Sherman earlier this week that suggested Boston made an “aggressive” offer to Syndergaard before the righty signed with the Angels.
Steven Matz is a pitcher known to be of interest to the Red Sox, and it is possible Matz might decide on his next team relatively quickly. According to Speier, Matz would prefer to have an agreement in place prior to the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on December 1, and the signing freeze that would come with a potential lockout on December 2. Matz is hoping to get a deal done by Thanksgiving, and given the number of teams already known to have checked in on the southpaw, it certainly seems plausible that a deal could be reached this week. Besides the Red Sox, Matz has been linked to the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Angels, plus the Blue Jays have continued to explore re-signing Matz for a longer term in Toronto.