At long last, the 2024 Red Sox season is upon us.

Yes, Boston has finished last in the AL East for two straight seasons despite finishing with a not-that-terrible 78 wins each time. And yes, Boston has some punch in the lineup thanks to Rafael Devers and Triston Casas. But the starting rotation has plenty of questions even after Brayan Bello pitched well enough to earn a long-term deal.

Boston hired ex-pitcher Craig Breslow as its new chief baseball officer following last season, but he has his work cut out for him in the short term. The Red Sox appear to be on track for their fourth last-place finish in five years. After trading Chris Sale in the offseason, their top free-agent acquisition was Lucas Giolito. But he got hurt in spring training and is expected to miss the entire season following elbow surgery.

Nonetheless, 162 games of intrigue, possibility, frustration, and joy await starting Thursday night in Seattle.

Bello gets the ball for Opening Day, and the Sox have shown they are all-in on their 24-year-old homegrown righty with a six-year, $55 million pre-arbitration extension with a club option for a seventh season. He’s Boston’s fourth-youngest Opening Day starter in the last 85 years, and the club’s first Dominican-born Opening Day starter since Pedro Martinez.

Seattle’s Luis Castillo will square off against Bello. The right-hander, 31, has been one of baseball’s most reliable starters since debuting in 2017; he owns a 3.54 ERA across 181 career regular-season starts, with 1,156 strikeouts and just 360 walks in 1,054 2/3 innings.


Nick Pivetta will be Boston’s No. 2 starter this season and make his debut on Friday night. He’s in his final year of club control and by far the most veteran member of the rotation; Bello is 24, and Kutter Crawford, Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck are 27.

Crawford is in line to start Saturday evening and Whitlock will finish the series on Sunday afternoon, which lines Houck up to pitch the series opener in Oakland on Monday.

Vaughn Grissom, acquired in the Sale trade with Atlanta, suffered a groin strain in spring training is expected to remain in Fort Myers, Florida, for extended spring training until April 7. He’ll join the Red Sox at Fenway Park for the April 9 home opener before being assigned to a minor-league team for a rehab assignment.

Manager Alex Cora, who returned to the Red Sox in 2021 after serving a suspension in 2020 and ultimately parting ways with Boston, is not signed beyond this year, but Cora has admitted before he’s not going to manage “10 more years,” and “there’s more to life” than being an MLB manager.

But Cora remains without a contract extension. And, for now, it appears it’s going to stay that way.

“No. We haven’t talked about it, and I respect that,” Cora said in a radio interview Wednesday. “From my end, it’s the same thing. We understand where we’re at as an organization, and where I’m at contract-wise.”


In his first year on the bench, Cora helped lead the Red Sox to a World Series in 2018. The following season didn’t yield the same results, and the team didn’t even make the postseason. Cora and the Red Sox mutually agreed to part ways ahead of the COVID-19 shortened season due to his part in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal, but was rehired in 2021.

A trip to the American League Championship Series was followed by two last-place finishes.

What the future holds for Cora beyond 2024 is anyone’s guess, but the 48-year-old knows MLB is a business. And he’s focused on getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2021.

“I love this place, my family enjoys being around the city and we love where we live. And the summers are great,” he said. “But understanding that this is business, my job is to help this team to be successful and play in October.

“… Right now, man, we’ve got to live in the present because the last two years everybody knows what we’ve done. We finished last. That’s not acceptable for me, for the organization, for you guys, for the fanbase. So, I’ll keep it at that. I respect the fact that everybody is going to be asking about next year, but let’s take care of this year, have a great season, and let’s see what the future holds.”

BOSTON ACQUIRED Japanese right-hander Naoyuki Uwasawa from the Rays for cash considerations, according to reports. It’s unclear if Uwasawa, a 30-year-old who didn’t make the Rays after signing a minor league deal with them over the winter, will be added to the major league roster or not.

Uwasawa, a veteran of nine Nippon Professional Baseball seasons with the Nippon Ham Fighters, was 9-9 with a 2.96 ERA in 24 games (170 innings) last season. He was posted into free agency over the winter and, despite reportedly having guaranteed offers from other major league clubs, signed a minor league contract with Tampa Bay in mid-January.

The deal is a split contract that pays Uwasawa $2.5 million if he’s on the big league roster and $225,000 in the minors while including up to $1 million in incentives based on innings pitched. The Red Sox will now assume that deal whether Uwasawa is on their 40-man roster or not.

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