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Sawx deal Ranaudo for Ross

January 28, 2015

Boston swapped Anthony Ranaudo to the Rangers for Robbie Ross in a trade of pitchers whose shortcomings were exposed last year.

Ross failed as a starter like pretty much everyone else who got the call for an injury-ravaged Rangers team, but unlike the peanut vendors and ushers, Ross actually got the shot out of spring training. Whether it’s his biological makeup, improper conditioning, or something else, 3-6 with a 6.20 ERA tells the story of a guy somewhat like the pitcher in Brewster’s Millions: he can get through the order exactly once. ERAs of 2.22 and 3.03 out of the ‘pen in 2012-13 show what the big lefty can do–and he’ll be fine in the Sawx pen as a 1-inning or 2-inning guy.

Ranaudo is the upside guy and I think he’s got a shitload of it… #2 starter type, but that happens if and only if he can throw the curve ball for strikes. He couldn’t last year, and had more walks (16) than punchouts (15) over 39 IP in the majors. If he makes the curve stop at the knees, it all falls into place: batters won’t be able to sit fastball-and-only-fastball which means his 97 mph cheese can actually start missing bats. Otherwise, he’s a pitcher who will always look good in the high minors but only get low-leverage mop-up in the Show. It really is going to be all-or-nothing.

The Sawx remain a frontline pitcher away from contending for the title. Whether that comes now (Big Inning Shields, 4/$70M feels right…) in a trade with the Nats (sixth starter Tanner Roark looks interesting), or at the deadline, a move needs to be made.


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