If the Red Sox were on the fence about signing a starting pitcher in free agency this winter, the latest news on the Steven Wright front probably swayed them. The team announced on Monday that the knuckleballer underwent arthroscopic surgery on his ailing knee and that he would be rehabbing to return in 2019.
Boston #RedSox RHP Steven Wright underwent a left knee arthroscopy and debridement today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, NY. The surgery was performed by Dr. Riley Williams.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) November 13, 2018
Wright will continue to rehab and prepare for a return to pitching in the 2019 season.
As you can see from that Twitter statement, the team is not really putting a timeline on his return, which is never a great sign. It does make sense, though, when you consider just how many issues and setbacks Wright has had with this knee issue.
After missing the start of the season from a suspension due to a domestic dispute with his wife in which he allegedly, among other things, prevented her from calling 9-1-1, Wright got on the field in the middle of May. Of course, as you’ll recall, the suspension was delayed because Wright was already on the disabled list for this knee issue. Once he returned, the knuckleballer looked solid for a couple of months out of the bullpen and as a spot starter. Then, at the end of June, he went back to the DL with the knee issue again before returning in the bullpen in September. He then had to be removed from the playoff roster just one game into Boston’s World Series run, and he wouldn’t return. It seems the knee issue still hasn’t been solved.
At this point, there’s no point in speculating what Wright can give the Red Sox this year. His knee issues seem to be part of who he is at this point, and while the surgery could very well fix it all, until that’s proven you have to factor in potentially missed time when projecting his role. The Red Sox always needed to add a starter this winter, but that became even more clear with (arguably) their top depth option set to miss an undetermined amount of time.