The Red Sox are nearing a deal with free-agent right-hander Zack Godley, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports. It’s unclear whether it will be a major league contract for Godley, whom the Tigers released from a minors pact Monday.
Godley will get an opportunity to win a starting spot in Boston, whose rotation looks shaky after taking multiple hits in recent months. They’ll go the whole season without ace and recent Tommy John recipient Chris Sale. Meanwhile, Eduardo Rodriguez has been down since last week because of a positive COVID-19 test. It seems unlikely he’ll be good to go for Opening Day, while Collin McHugh definitely won’t be ready as he continues his recovery from elbow troubles.
As things stand, the Red Sox are down to Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez as their most experienced starters who are actually healthy. Matt Hall, Brian Johnson, Jeffrey Springs and Chris Mazza are among in-house options competing for roles after Eovaldi and Perez.
The 30-year-old Godley, like Eovaldi and Perez, brings a somewhat lengthy but inconsistent track record to the table. Godley seemed to break out in 2017 as a Diamondback with 155 innings of 3.37 ERA/3.41 FIP pitching. While he was less effective at preventing runs the next season (4.74 ERA/3.82 FIP), he still amassed 178 1/3 frames and struck out more than a better per inning for the second straight campaign.
Unfortunately, Godley continued to fall off last season. He performed so badly in Arizona that the team designated him for assignment in August, and while Toronto did end up adding him on waivers, he didn’t last long there. All told, Godley made 33 appearances (only nine starts) and registered a 5.97 ERA/5.20 FIP over 92 innings. His K/9 took a major turn for the worse along the way, plummeting to 6.85.
Despite his 2019 downturn, Godley would seem to represent a worthwhile buy-low arm who may have some multiyear upside. If he actually sticks with his next team, he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season.