Pitching Notes: Brash, Lugo, Red Sox, Raley

Matt Brash’s debut in the majors resulted in a 4.44 ERA over 50 2/3 innings, with pronounced splits as a starter (7.65 ERA) and as a reliever (2.35), since returning from a minor league demotion in a relief role worked wonders for Brash’s effectiveness.  Unsurprisingly, “Brash has generated a ton of [trade] interest after his rookie season,” Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times writes, “but it would take a lot” for the Mariners to consider moving the 24-year-old.  If anything, the M’s have faith that Brash could still be part of a rotation, given the club’s plan to stretch him out for Spring Training.

Brash’s 14.9% walk rate was the third-highest of any pitcher in baseball with at least 50 innings pitched in 2022, and he also allowed a lot of hard contact.  On the plus side, the hard-throwing Brash had an above-average 27.9% strikeout rate, and elite curveball spin to go along with excellent whiff and barrel rates.  There’s a lot to like about a young pitcher who still has only 179 1/3 combined innings on his record at the Major and minor league levels, and rival teams are naturally seeing if the win-now Mariners might be open to moving a younger pitcher for a more established MLB-level player.  Nothing can truly be ruled out given the aggressiveness of Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto, yet it’s probably likelier that one of Marco Gonzales or Chris Flexen are dealt from the Mariners’ pitching mix.

More pitching-related items from around baseball….

  • Back on November 14, The Athletic’s Will Sammon reported that the Mets weren’t one of the many teams who had checked in with free agent righty Seth Lugo.  Almost two weeks later, the two sides still haven’t been in touch, and “the Mets do not view Lugo as a starter,” Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.  Lugo is reportedly open to signing as either a starter or as a reliever, and at least some of the other suitors have some interest in Lugo’s potential as a rotation piece.  Speculatively, this could translate to at least an incentive-heavy contract for Lugo, with more bonus money available if he ends up making more starts than relief appearances.  It could be that the Mets simply don’t value Lugo at this price, and are ready to look elsewhere in their search for bullpen help.
  • The Red Sox pursued left-hander Brooks Raley in free agency last year, and offered Raley a two-year deal worth roughly $8MM, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.  Raley ended up signing a two-year, $10MM contract with the Rays, and then had a strong season for Boston’s division rival (Raley’s year included a 0.00 ERA over six innings against the Sox).  Between missing out on Raley and the general lack of quality in Boston’s 2022 bullpen, Speier writes that the Red Sox “came to regret not pursuing relief help more aggressively,” and opines whether or not the team might put more emphasis on relievers this winter.  Chaim Bloom hasn’t spent much on relief pitching in his first three offseasons as the Red Sox chief baseball officer, and thus far this winter, Speier notes that the Sox haven’t yet paid much attention to the relief market, with a larger (and understandable) focus on starting pitching and re-signing Xander Bogaerts.

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