The Red Sox announced today that they have reassigned pitching coach Dana LeVangie and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister. LeVangie will stay in the organization as a pro scout. Bannister will move into the role of VP of pitching development, which deals primarily with minor leaguers.
Pitching is what did the Red Sox in in 2019, as the club finished 19th in the majors in team ERA. It’s worth noting too that injuries played a big role, with Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi missing dozens of starts due to various maladies. Any chance that the bullpen would make up for that was a dead letter the moment the front office decided to go cheap on the pen last winter.
So, yes, on some level LeVangie and Bannister are fall guys here. But such is life for big league pitching coaches.
Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports that the Red Sox are nearing an agreement with pitcher Zack Godley. It is still unclear whether the contract will be of the minor or major league variety.
Godley, 30, was with the Tigers on a minor league contract but the club released him in early April. The right-hander pitched for the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays last season, amassing 92 innings with a 5.97 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio. Godley was quite solid for the D-Backs in 2017, posting a 3.37 ERA over 155 innings, so the Red Sox are hoping to see that version of him.
The Red Sox need starting pitching depth with Chris Sale out for the year due to Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodríguez sidelined because of a positive COVID-19 test. Collin McHugh is also still on the mend from an elbow injury. The starting rotation at the moment includes Nathan Eovaldi, Martín Pérez, Ryan Weber, and Brian Johnson. It is certainly the club’s biggest weakness.
The Red Sox open up the 2020 regular season at home against the Orioles on July 24. Eovaldi would seem to be the one to get the Opening Day nod. Godley could slot in anywhere else in the rotation, from No. 2 to 5.