MLB Rumors: Braves open doors, Red Sox SP upgrades, Dodgers big gamble

  • Braves officially decline Eddie Rosario's $9 million team option
  • Red Sox connected to multiple flashy free agent pitchers
  • Dodgers commit to Shohei Ohtani pursuit with bold move

Blake Snell, San Diego Padres
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres / David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports
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MLB Rumors: Red Sox pegged as destination for elite free agent pitchers

The Boston Red Sox are expected to pursue significant changes after last season's disappointing last-place finish. One glaring area of need is pitching. Brayan Bello still needs time to develop and Chris Sale doesn't have the same juice he did five years ago. James Paxton is a free agent, too.

Boston has a new GM in charge with Craig Breslow, who has installed genuine confidence in the fanbase. The Red Sox remain a destination franchise with the spending power to seriously improve their standing next season.

The crew at MLB Trade Rumors recently went through 50 free agents to offer insight and predict landing spots. The Red Sox were tied to two elite starting pitchers — Padres Cy Young candidate Blake Snell and Tigers ace Eduardo Rodriguez.

Snell burned batters with a 37.5 whiff percentage (98th percentile) and 31.5 strikeout percentage (94th percentile) last season. He has a walk problem (4th percentile), but he packs 95.5 MPH heat and a nasty curveball that can get batters to chase. He won Cy Young with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018, and he's on track for a potential second win after leading the MLB in ERA (2.25) last season.

Rodriguez doesn't quite offer the same upside as Snell, but he's a reliable workhorse who posted solid numbers across the board last season — 13-9 record, 3.30 ERA, 1.153 WHIP. Rodriguez doesn't possess blistering heat, but he commands the plate well and keeps the ball in the park. If the Red Sox put a decent defense behind him, such a signing would pay dividends.

The Red Sox can target either one, or maybe even go for the power-move and sign both. Boston will have to address the offense as well, but priority No. 1 is putting a more experienced ace in front of Bello.