Photo Credit: Jason Lowenthal
The Red Sox attract high-profile players; however, there has been a recent disturbing trend. Going back to Josh Beckett, high profile pitchers who sign or are traded to the Red Sox tend to underperform in their first year in Beantown. Pitchers included in this trend are Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Rick Porcello, and David Price. All of these pitchers had success before being traded or signed by the Sox and then struggled mightily in their first years in Boston. Beckett was coming of at season in which he finished 15-8 before being traded to the Red Sox with third baseman Mike Lowell. Beckett won 15 games in his first year in Boston, however he had an ERA of 5.01, well above his career norm. Lackey was coming off five years of a sub-four ERA before signing with the Sox and was seen as the ace of the Angels. In his first year in Boston, Lackey finished with an ERA of 4.40. Porcello was coming off a career year in which he won 15 games for the Detroit Tigers before the Red Sox acquired him in a deal for slugger Yoenis Cespedes. The Sox also gave Porcello a 82 million dollar contract before he even threw a pitch for them and then his first year turned out to be a disaster. Price did not have a disastrous first year in Boston; however, he hardly seemed like a pitcher who had been considered the best in the game behind Clayton Kershaw. There is hope for Price if he looks at how these pitchers fared after their first year in Boston.
Even though they all struggled mightily, they all rebounded. Beckett won 21 games in his second year in Boston as the Sox won their second title in four years. After battling back from injuries, Lackey proved to be key for the Red Sox in their 2013 championship run and Porcello rebounded in 2016 by winning the AL Cy Young. Chris sale is one of the best pitchers in baseball. With that he brings high expectations to Boston especially considering the players the Red Sox gave up for him. The Red Sox faithful expect him to put up big numbers and will accept nothing less than that. This jinx or curse as some would say must end at some point and there’s no reason to think Sale won’t be the one to do it.
Written by: Jamie Gatlin