What should the Red Sox do if Yamamoto signs with another team?

If Yoshinobu Yamamoto Signs Elsewhere, Who Should be the Red Sox’ Backup Plan?

The Yoshinobu Yamamoto bidding war is officially underway as the Japanese ace was posted by the Orix Buffaloes on Tuesday. Yamamoto, widely regarded as the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market, has until Jan. 4 to sign with an MLB club. Numerous teams, including the pitching-needy Boston Red Sox, are expected to enter the fray.

If Yamamoto doesn’t sign with the Red Sox, they need a plan B. The Red Sox should aggressively pursue Yamamoto, given the urgent need at the top of their rotation. But if he goes elsewhere, who should be their next target for upgrading the pitching staff?

Next in line after Yamamoto, free-agent starting pitchers Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, and Sonny Gray are all viable options for the Red Sox. With Aaron Nola returning to Philadelphia, these three pitchers are drawing significant interest. If Yamamoto isn’t available, the Red Sox will need to decide who to pursue next.

According to a recent poll, Snell and Montgomery are the top choices among Red Sox fans. With Snell securing 40.5 percent of the vote and Montgomery earning 45.6 percent, Gray garnered just 5.7 percent while 8.2 percent of respondents chose “Other.” Montgomery has already been linked to the Red Sox, making him the potential favorite if Yamamoto signs elsewhere.

Let’s take a closer look at each pitcher and their potential fit with the Red Sox:

Blake Snell:

After Yamamoto, Snell is the only clear “ace” among the options. Despite concerns about his walk total, Snell has proven himself in the American League East and has a strong postseason record.

Jordan Montgomery:

Montgomery came out on top in the fan poll, thanks to his standout performance in 2023. He could provide much-needed stability to a Red Sox rotation that struggled last season.

Sonny Gray:

Gray, despite his second-place finish in the 2023 AL Cy Young vote, didn’t fare well in the fan poll. However, his track record as a proven front-end starter should not be overlooked.

Other Options: In addition to these three starters, other free agents like Eduardo Rodriguez, Marcus Stroman, Lucas Giolito, and Shota Imanaga are also worth considering as potential rotation upgrades.

While the fans have spoken, Thomas McCreedy III suggested an alternative plan: “Sign Montgomery and Imanaga or trade for Cease or another younger ace.” This could be a viable path for the Red Sox if they’re willing to invest more in building a formidable rotation.

The verdict? Montgomery seems to be the most cost-effective and consistent option – a rock-solid backup if Yamamoto ends up elsewhere.


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