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Could Roenis Elias be the Red Sox No. 5 Starter?

March 20, 2016

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore OriolesPedro Martinez and Jerry Remy have helped him out. And he established himself as a decent young arm with the Seattle Mariners.

With that logic, there has to be something to like about Roenis Elias, who really was not given much thought other than being a throw-in piece of the Wade Miley deal. Carson Smith looked to be the real treasure. But Elias is 15-20 with a 3.99 ERA in 49 career big league starts over the past two seasons. That’s not half bad.

Granted, half his games were at Safeco Field, he was actually better on the road — somehow. Fenway Park is not Safeco Field, so it would be safe to assume his numbers would inflate because righties have the Green Monster at Fenway Park to put balls off of.

With Eddie Rodriguez set to start the season on the Disabled List, the Red Sox are in need of at least a temporary starter. Steven Wright looks to be the obvious choice simply because he is out of options and already slated to make the Opening Day roster. But the Red Sox are stretching Elias out. He went four innings in his last time out and allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out five.

As a member of the 40-man roster with the Red Sox already doing good in terms of starting pitching depth and lacking left-handed relief depth, one would have assumed the team liked him in a later inning role simply because lefties have a .635 OPS lifetime against him in the bigs and righties have a .744 OPS.

Elias’ all-around spring numbers might not look great, but he got off to a late start since he had visa issues and then dealt with an ankle injury. He should have two more starts this spring at least and if he he can command the strike zone like he did in his last outing, he should be in line for the job.

Of course, Wright would not be a bad option either.


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