Nick Pivetta
Can Nick Pivetta rebound with the Red Sox? Boston obviously thinks Pivetta is a perfect change of scenery candidate. (Courtesy: Pawtucket Red Sox)

I was super critical when the Red Sox decided to trade Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree. Not because they traded two players but because of what they got back. Why did the Red Sox want Nick Pivetta? Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom officially took his first flag plant with Pivetta, who he believes is someone that will thrive with a change of scenery.

Can Pivetta rebound with the Red Sox? I would be hesitant to count on that, but I wouldn’t rule it out. A 5.50 ERA in 396 ⅓ big-league innings isn’t cutting it. Nick Pivetta has not been a good big-league pitcher for a prolonged period. Could that change?

There are two things working in Pivetta’s favor.

Pivetta ranks in the 75th percentile in fast ball velocity.

Additionally, he ranks in the 92nd percentile in curveball spin rate.

Thus far, Pivetta has had one Achilles heel. The guy just doesn’t miss bats. It’s been a small sample size in 2020, of course, but Pivetta has only a 13.8 K rate. That’s not cutting it, nor does it make sense given the stuff that he has. So what the hell is the problem?

Is it mental? Did he need to get out of Philadelphia? Is it a matter of his control never being good enough? Is it a lack of deception in his delivery? Boston believes they can get the most out of the hard-throwing righty.

The Red Sox are going about this the right way. In a desperate attempt by the Phillies to salvage his career, they tried to turn Pivetta into a reliever. Nine times out of ten, that move always backfires and shatters a player’s confidence. The Sox are stretching him back out to start to fill a rotation need.

Boston is also going about this the right way with some hidden service time manipulation. Boston is stretching Pivetta out as a starter at the alternate site. What they’re doing is buying themselves another year of team control.  If Boston keeps Pivetta at Pawtucket through Sept. 18 or 19, they will secure another year of team control. Pivetta would then become a free agent after the 2024 season increasing his value.

Pivetta will likely then enter the 2021 rotation. The other four (barring a trade) will include Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Martin Perez. If Pivetta can rebound, that’s not the worst rotation in baseball, not by a long shot. Again, a big IF when it comes to that part.

Maybe this trade was the way it was supposed to work out. The Washington Nationals drafted Pivetta in 2013. He was then traded to the Phillies in 2015 for Jonathan Papelbon. You know, the former Red Sox closer that recorded the final out in the 2007 championship season. Maybe it’s come full circle, and Pivetta dominates with the Sox.