Shortly after the final out of today’s loss to the Cubs the Red Sox announced that Josh Beckett has been scratched from his scheduled Sunday start due to shoulder inflammation.
Franklin Morales will make the start in his place, which is interesting because Morales has been strictly a reliever since the Red Sox acquired him from the Rockies in May of last year. He’s pitched well for Boston, throwing 56 innings with a 3.38 ERA and 51/19 K/BB ratio, but all 58 appearances have come in relief.
In fact, the last time Morales started a big-league game was for the Rockies on April 21, 2009. He lasted just two innings that day and has been a full-time reliever ever since. Morales is unlikely to pitch deep into the game Sunday even if he’s doing well, although he has gone three or more innings in an appearance twice within the past two weeks, throwing 52 and 36 pitches.
Beckett dealt with some shoulder/lat muscle problems last month, but he’s thrown at least seven innings in six consecutive starts and has a 2.68 ERA during that span.
Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Jake Arrieta‘s agent Scott Boras says they’ll discuss a potential contract extension with the Cubs when they meet in January to hammer out arbitration figures.
Arrieta, 30, is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $10.7 million in 2016. The right-hander followed up his Cy Young Award-winning 2015 campaign by going 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA and a 190/76 K/BB ratio in 197 1/3 innings during the regular season. Arrieta pitched well in the postseason, helping the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908.
While Boras clients tend to go to free agency, it’s not always the case. Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Nationals earlier this year.
Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports, citing a source as well as Nikkan Sports, that reliever Koji Uehara is close to signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Cubs.
Uehara, 41, finished the 2016 season with a 3.45 ERA and a 63/11 K/BB ratio over 47 innings. He missed some time in the second half with a strained right pectoral muscle. When Uehara returned from the disabled list on September 7, he tossed 11 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and two walks through the end of the regular season. So there’s at least some evidence, albeit in a very small sample size, that Uehara has stuff left in the tank.
The Cubs recently acquired closer Wade Davis from the Royals. Uehara would join Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, Jr., Justin Grimm, and Mike Montgomery in what is once again a very deep bullpen.