Ever since the Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Justin Masterson this offseason, general manager Ben Cherington has down played the team’s desire to acquire an ace. With high price tags on both the trade and free agent market’s, Boston pushed all of their chips to the center of the table on a handful of middle of the rotation arms.
But that was before Max Scherzer decided to sign a mammoth 7-year deal with the already pitching heavy Washington Nationals this weekend. With the former Cy Young Award winner in the fold, the conversation quickly turned trade speculation regarding the teams glut of starters. Early conjecture from FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi featured free agent to be Jordan Zimmermann on the trade block, while MLB Network’s Joel Sherman wondered if Washington would keep their rotation as-is.
While Zimmermann has undoubtedly been on the Red Sox radar this offseason, he seems hell bent on reaching free agency in 2016, which will probably deter Ben Cherington from paying through the nose for the 28-year old via trade. Similarly, right-hander Doug Fister would require Boston to part with something of great value, despite being a year away from free agency. Gio Gonzalez, whom the Red Sox were finalists for when the Oakland A’s were shopping him in 2011, has the numbers and contract control to warrant a large haul also.
Whether it’s Zimmermann or Fister, any trade with Washington for a starter is going to require a sweet package, so why not “go big or go home” and strike a deal for Stephen Strasburg.
All offseason Cherington has been looking for the one perfect ace to plant atop of his rotation, and the 26-year old right-hander checks off all the boxes. Since successfully recovering from Tommy John surgery back in 2012, the former first round pick has amassed a 3.10 ERA over 557.1 innings pitched. On average, Strasburg managed to collect over 230 strikeouts a season, and last year managed a league leading and career best 242 punchouts. Unlike Zimmermann and Fister, Strasburg is under contract for two more seasons via salary arbitration.
With Chris Sale as an offseason long pipe dream, Ruben Amaro Jr. holding Cole Hamels for ransom, and James Shields in the market for a huge payday, Strasburg is the ace that Ben Cherington has been looking for all along. Young, in his prime, and under control; the three things that the third year GM values most regarding starting pitching. While any trade for Strasburg would require Boston to open up their cabinet of prospects and say “take your pick”, talent like Strasburg doesn’t become available often. Meeting Washington’s demands would hurt, but the Red Sox could quickly move on if it meant landing Stephen Strasburg.
- There hasn’t been a dull moment for Rusney Castillo since he inked a 7 year, $72.5 million deal with the Red Sox five months ago. After signing, 27-year old took a four team tour through Boston’s minor league system and capped it off with a brief 10 game stint in Boston. When the season ended, Castillo didn’t stop playing, making stops in both the Arizona Fall League and Puerto Rico Winter League. The Cuban defector will wrapped up his travels with a stop in Boston to partake in the Red Sox rookie development program. (Rusney Castillo has been a man on the move)
- The Red Sox managed to avoid arbitration with two of their four eligible players over the weekend. Boston came to terms with reliever Junichi Tazawa and newly acquired starter Rick Porcello on one-year deals. After enjoying productive 2014 seasons, both players were awarded respectable raises in salary. Wade Miley and Daniel Nava, on the other hand, will have a arbitration hearing with Boston during the spring. (Red Sox avoid arbitration with Porcello, Tazawa)
- The Quintin Berry era in Boston was given new life after the Red Sox inked the outfielder to a minor league pact over the weekend. Berry, who was part of the 2013 World Series roster, enjoyed a productive year in triple-A last season hitting .285 with a .382 on-base percentage. In his second stint in Boston, Berry figures to provide a speedy depth option for the Red Sox. (Red Sox sign Quintin Berry to a minor league deal)
- As Boston awaits to the verdict on their 2024 Summer Olympic bid, Red Sox owners are open to accommodating for the festivities. Should Boston win the honor, John Henry will send the Red Sox on a long road trip to allow for Fenway Park to be used for the games. The Olympics typically span a 17 days, meaning that the Red Sox would be on the road for close to three weeks. (Red Sox owner OKs long road trip to free up Fenway Park for 2024 Olympics)
- Tweet of the day: Open the cabinet, Ben.