Granted an ace would be nice to plant atop the rotation, but it’s not something that Boston should bend over backwards to try and add. A quick look around the American League East reveals a generally pitching weak division. Jon Lester, David Price, John Lackey, and Hiroki Kuroda have all left the AL East, CC Sabathia has regressed, and Masahiro Tanaka’s stellar rookie season was cut short due to injury. In turn, Baltimore Orioles righty Chris Tillman is arguably the best pitcher in the division right now, following a season in which he posted a 3.34 ERA in 207 innings pitched.
With such weak counterparts surrounding them, the Red Sox are right to believe that they can get by with a rotation predicated on eating innings and inducing high ground ball rates. While lack-luster on paper, Boston’s starting five should match up well with the rest of the league, assuming everyone operates around their career norms. On top of that, Boston can also hang their hat on the belief that the mid-20 year old’s they’ve acquired this offseason are on the cusp of reaching their prime years.
Should the Red Sox reach the trade deadline in pole position of the division, or within striking distance, Boston could then add a rental ace for their playoff run. Assuming some clubs fall off the table this summer, the trade market should be flush with rental options. Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman, David Price, and Hisashi Iwakuma are all set to hit the open market in 2016 and could be available if their respective teams find themselves out of contention. Moreover, if the Red Sox refuse to meet the typically high demands held on starters at the deadline, they can always elect to wait until the offseason to add an ace without sacrificing minor league talent.
Right now, it’s best for the Red Sox to roll with what they have in the rotation. Sure, they could add Scherzer, Hamels, or Shields with a phone call and a swipe of a pen, but they shouldn’t sign a player just to say that they have an ace. Instead, the team can afford to wait out the market, let the season play out, and get their guy. Whether it comes via trade or free agency, it’s better for Boston to obtain the player they want, rather than being pressured into signing a pitcher they don’t.
- The Red Sox are reportedly one of four teams in an offseason “stare down” with the Philadelphia Phillies regarding left-hander Cole Hamels. This news come shortly after it was reported that the Red Sox and Phillies had not discussed a trade for the southpaw in over a month. The snag in a potential deal all along has been Boston’s unwillingness to trade top tier minor league talent in addition to exercising Hamels’ 2019 club option. (Phillies in “staredowns” with four teams over Cole Hamels)
- Just four months removed from undergoing surgery on his left hand, Dustin Pedroia was given the green light to resume baseball activities. Pedroia, whose numbers have taken a hit due to injuries over the past seasons, is expected to enter Spring Training without any restrictions. Known as the heart and soul of the team, Pedroia’s health has resulted in a louder, more rambunctious(if you can believe that) second baseman. (Pedroia cleared to resume baseball activities)
- After somewhat dismantling their 2013 World Series squad this offseason, the Red Sox will try and find the same success and chemistry on their new-look roster. Boston will welcome in four new additions to the starting rotation and five new everyday position player. While questions remain about past transgressions and language barriers, the team is confident in their ability to let success speak through chemistry. (Red Sox banking clubhouse culture won’t go south)
- The 2015 Red Sox appear to be a finished product, but without having played any games yet, there are questions that still face the team. Boston’s starting rotation is still ace-less, with names like Max Scherzer and Cole Hamels still available on the free agent and trade market respectively. The Red Sox roster also continues to feature a logjam in the outfield, and a trade should be made before Opening Day. (Red Sox mailbag: Can Hanley Ramirez play defense, Brandon Workman’s role, ETA on top prospects)
- Tweet of the day: Yaz was pretty good, eh?
Carl Yastrzemski walked 452 more times than he struck out in his 23-year career.
— David Laurila (@DavidLaurilaQA) January 14, 2015