Red Sox should consider signing right-hander Ryne Stanek

The Red Sox are a team in need of pitching help — both of the starting rotation and bullpen variety — this offseason. Among the names available via free agency, Ryne Stanek is far from the sexiest. But, the right-hander could prove to be an integral piece of any club’s pitching staff if he regains his 2018-2019 form come next season.

Non-tendered by the Marlins earlier this week, the 29-year-old hurler hits the open market for the first time in his career coming off a lackluster 2020 campaign in which he allowed eight earned runs over just nine relief appearances and 10 innings of work. He was limited due to the fact that he missed a month on the injured list for an undisclosed reason.

Originally acquired by Miami from the Rays at last season’s trade deadline, Stanek had been enjoying success at the major-league level with Tampa Bay prior to his move to South Beach.

Going back to the start of the 2018 season, the St. Louis native had posted a 3.17 ERA and 3.64 FIP in exactly 100 appearances (56 starts) and 122 innings pitched up until the point he was traded in late July 2019.

Those are decent numbers, and considering the fact he was only projected to earn $800,000 in his first season of arbitration eligibility in 2021, Stanek could be someone teams believe will bounce back with a new change of scenery. The Red Sox, by all accounts, could very well be one of those teams.

Not only could Stanek, who works with a four-seamer, slider, and splitter, provide valuable pitching depth for a club in desperate need of it, but there’s the Chaim Bloom factor to consider as well.

Boston’s chief baseball officer was a key member of Tampa Bay’s front office for over a decade, and he most likely had input on who the Rays took with their second first-round pick of the 2013 amateur draft in Stanek, a former Arkansas Razorback.

So far in his tenure with the Sox, Bloom has not shied away from picking up former early-round picks who had fallen off from their former top prospect status. Infielder Christian Arroyo, who was most notably part of the trade that sent Evan Longoria from the Rays to the Giants in 2017, is just one example.

Stanek fits that same mold to some degree, and he would also fit in with the Red Sox on account of the fact that he is versatile, capable of pitching out of the bullpen and serving as an opener when needed.

As mentioned earlier, 56 of Stanek’s 121 appearances with the Rays going back to 2017 had come as an opener. The 6-foot-4 right-hander proved to be quite effective in that role, and he may be able to regain that level of effectiveness if he were to return to it with Boston.

The way the Sox’ rotation looks at the moment in terms of the level of depth, it would not hurt to have an opener as a potential sixth or seventh option if a starter were to go down for whatever reason.

We have certainly seen out fair share of Red Sox openers going back to the latter half of the 2019 season, but bringing in someone like Stanek, one of the role’s innovators, could have the makings to be an underrated offseason addition for Bloom and Co.

David Price Fans 10 over Six One-Run Innings, Marco Hernandez Collects Two RBI in First Start Since 2017 as Red Sox Split Doubleheader with Rays in 5-1 Victory

After dropping the first contest of their day-night doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays earlier Saturday, the Red Sox bounced back a few hours later, salvaging the twin bill with a 5-2 win in the night cap.

Making his 11th start for Boston was David Price, fresh off a quality outing against the Yankees where he was also tasked with stopping a losing streak.

He got the job done then, and the same can be said for what was done Saturday, as the left-hander yielded just one earned run over six innings, scattering five hits and two walks to go along with 10 strikeouts on the night to tie a season-high.

Relatively speaking, Price breezed through his first four frames of work. That much is evident by how he retired 12 of the first 13 hitters he faced. Once this one reached the fifth inning though, well, that’s where things got interesting.

A four-pitch walk of Willy Adames, followed by a balk that allowed Adames to take second and put Tampa Bay’s second base runner of the night into scoring position with no outs for Mike Zunino, who advanced said runner 90 feet to third by grounding out to first.

On the very next pitch thrown by Price with Kevin Kiermaier at the plate, the speedy outfielder nearly drove in his team’s first run on a dribbler up the first base line, but a solid tag from Christian Vazquez, who received the ball from Michael Chavis, on a sliding Adames prevented that from happening. The play was challenged by Tampa Bay, but it was not overturned.

Still with one out to get in the fifth, back-to-back hits from Christian Arroyo and Guillermo Heredia did plate the Rays’ first run of the evening, with Heredia driving in the aforementioned Kiermaier on an RBI double.

That would be all the damage given up by Price in the inning, but the Rays almost struck again in the sixth, loading the bases in between recording the first two outs of the inning for Kiermaier.

Already with some impactful hits under his belt in this series, Price did not let his one-time teammate beat him this time around, as he got Kiermaier to pop out to shallow center field on the seventh pitch of an at-bat loaded with drama to keep the Rays off the scoreboard and end his outing on a positive note.

Finiashing with a final pitch count of 103 (64 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his two-seam fastball nearly 42% of the time he was on the mound Saturday. With his changeup, a pitch Price threw 25 times, he induced nine swings and misses. And with his four-seamer, a pitch thrown 17 times, he topped out at 94.6 MPH while Christian Vazquez was behind the plate.

Improving to 4-2 while also lowering his ERA on the season down to a rotation-best 2.70, Price certainly appears to be on track to earn his first All-Star appearance as a member of the Red Sox later this summer. He’ll look for win number five in his next time out, which should come against the Texas Rangers next Thursday.

In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen held things down in nearly perfect fashion, with Brandon Workman tossing a 1-2-3 seventh, Marcus Walden working his way around a one-out double in an otherwise clean eighth, and Matt Barnes committing a throwing error of his own in a two-strikeout ninth to secure the 5-1 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a bullpen game for the Rays, and it began with right-hander Ryne Stanek, who recorded the first four outs of this contest before departing with runners on first and second in the bottom half of the second.

Colin Poche, making his big league debut, was inserted and managed to get out of the jam by retiring Jackie Bradley Jr. and Marco Hernandez in consecutive order, but the Boston bats did get to him an inning later.

It started with back-to-back leadoff singles from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, as well as back-to-back strikeouts from Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, which led to Rays manager Kevin Cash going back to his ‘pen with a right-handed bat in Michael Chavis due up next for Boston.

So, in came Austin Pruitt, having never faced Chavis before, and perhaps the rookie took advantage with that lack of familiarity by swinging at the first pitch he saw from the Tampa Bay reliever, an 87 MPH slider on the bottom half of the strike zone, and ripping a two-run double off the Green Monster to drive in both Betts and Benintendi for his side’s first two runs of the evening.

Fast forward to the fifth, and it was the top of Boston’s lineup getting things done once again, with Betts reaching base on another leadoff double, advancing to third on a Benintendi groundout, and coming in to score on an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. 3-1.

And in the sixth, making his first start at second base in more than two years, Marco Hernandez came through with the bases loaded by lacing another two-run double off of Pruitt, with this one also deflecting off the left field wall to plate Chavis and Holt for his first two RBI of the year.

That two-bagger, Hernandez’s second of the day, put the Sox ahead 5-1, which would go on to be the final score in Game 2 of the doubleheader Saturday.

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Stats:

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale against these same Rays Sunday afternoon.

For the finale, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of left-handers, with Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for Boston and Blake Snell doing the same for Tampa Bay.

Last making a start at Fenway Park on May 15th, Rodriguez (6-3, 4.88), will come into Sunday having given up just a total of three earned runs in his last two starts combined.

In seven career starts against the Rays, the 26-year-old owns a lifetime 6.42 ERA over 33.2 innings pitched.

Snell (3-5, 3.68 ERA), meanwhile will be making his first start against the Red Sox this year after capturing his first ever Cy Young Award in 2018.

In three prior starts at Fenway Park, the southpaw has posted a 4.50 ERA while averaging six innings per outing.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. Red Sox looking for the series-split before welcoming the Texas Rangers into town.