Now that the dust has settled on the flurry of moves that the Red Sox made last week, it’s safe to evaluate what still remains for the team going forward. Although the team added three capable pitchers to their rotation in Wade Miley, Justin Masterson, and Rick Porcello, the team is still in need of a staff ace. The trio of new arms, and those already on the roster, gives Boston a surplus of middle and back of the rotation starters. Therefore, the team will dedicate the majority of the winter to finding a top tier arm to lead the staff. However, Boston’s needs aren’t just limited to finding someone to succeed Jon Lester atop the rotation, the Red Sox also have other outlying shortcomings that must be addressed. Now that David Ross is a free agent and Christian Vazquez is set to handle the bulk of the catching duties, the Red Sox will need to find a veteran backstop to compliment the young rookie. While it’s still a possibility that Ross returns, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has expressed the teams desire to add a left handed catcher to the bench. Moreover, Ross seemed interested in joining whichever team that signed Jon Lester, which makes sense considering the duo hold a 2.77 ERA in 29 games together. For Boston, adding a left handed catcher might be easier said than done, as the current free agent market offers three undesirable left handed options. With this in mind, the Red Sox will need to find a trade candidate to appease their need behind the plate. Depending on the cost, Houston Astros’ catcher Jason Castro is an interesting option. While the 27-year old posted an unimpressive .222/.286/.366 slash last season, he did manage to collect 14 home runs and 56 RBI. Defensively Castro isn’t on the same level as Vazquez, but he has displayed sound glove work behind the dish over his 4 year career. The cost for Castro is unknown now, but considering his three remaining years of team control one would figure that one of Boston’s young pitchers could get a deal in motion.
- In trading for Rick Porcello, the Red Sox obtained a starting pitcher on a unique career path. At the age of 20, Porcello won a starting spot out of spring training, and found himself enjoying a successful rookie campaign as the Detroit Tigers fourth starter. After carefully progressing though the next 4 seasons, Porcello learned how to be an effective major league starter. Now just a season away from free agency, the 26-year old will hit the open market as a rare experienced young arm. (Baptism by fire ignited Rick Porcello)
- After enduring a dreadful 2014 season, Justin Masterson has pinpointed what was responsible for inflating his numbers last season. Along with a right knee injury, Masterson found himself developing bad mechanical habits and a dip in velocity. During 2014, the 29-year old didn’t use his lower half to drive towards the plate, which resulted in a 6 mile an hour difference in his fastball. Now, with proper healing and mechanical adjustments, Masterson should yield better results in the Red Sox rotation. (With mechanical tweaks, Justin Masterson expects to be a starter)
- Even after the Red Sox welcomed a cavalcade of new starters to their rotation, the team isn’t done building towards a postseason return in 2015. Currently, the Red Sox rotation features a surplus of middle and back end starters, with no one pitcher to call the true ace of the staff. With Jon Lester now off the market, and starters like Max Scherzer and James Shields representing expensive financial commitments, Boston could look to the trade market to met their needs. While the Phillies will demand at least two blue chip prospects for left hander Cole Hamels, the 30-year old would fill the void left by Lester nicely. (Red Sox still need Cole Hamels trade to complete true contending rotation)
- As the Red Sox continue their search for an ace, the team has checked in with the Washington Nationals regarding right-hander Jordan Zimmerman. With no real motivation to move the 28-year old, the Nationals are asking for a host of prospects in exchange for Zimmermann. For the Red Sox, sacrificing a package of top tier minor league talent for the soon-to-be free agent doesn’t seem like something Ben Cherington would do. However, should the price lower on the former second round pick, Boston will certainly be in the mix for his services. (Red Sox, Nationals have talked Jordan Zimmermann trade)
- Tweet of the day: Close that chapter of Red Sox history
With the completion of the Wade Miley trade, every player that the Red Sox acquired in the infamous "Nick Punto trade" is now gone.
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) December 13, 2014