So what can the Red Sox expect from John Lackey in 2013?
"I think it's reasonable to expect that he can pitch at least the way he did in 2010, his first year here," CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam told Jessica Moran on 'SportsNet Central' Sunday night. "That, at the time, was viewed as something of a disappointment because they had given him 82 million and he won 'only' 14 games with an ERA of about 4.4.
"I think that's kind of the baseline that you start at. It's certainly reasonable that both being in better shape and the elbow being fixed, that he can at least return to that level. Whether he can be the true, sort of, get-the-ball-for-Game-1-postseason-series, that guy that he was with the Angels, those days are probably gone. But he can be a middle-of-the-rotation innings eater, a guy that can give you 190 to 200 innings, and can get you double figures in wins. I think most Red Sox fans would be happy with that."
The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.