I’m one of the few people that believes that the Red Sox will be just fine without adding an ace before the season starts. Call it drinking the John Henry Kool-aid if you want, but when I look around the division, I see just about every team in the same position as the Red Sox are in with their pitching staff. Gone are the days — at least for now — of having super rotations featuring two or three potential number one starters. The best pitcher in the East right now is Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who posted a career year last season. CC Sabathia isn’t the left-handed force that he was when he weighed close to three bills, David Price, Jon Lester, and John Lackey have all left town, and Masahiro Tanaka will need to overcome some injury concerns.
With the pitching competition in the AL East at the lowest level in recent memory, Boston’s group of proven mid-rotation starters was the best course of action the team could have taken this offseason. Given the nature of both the free agent and trade market’s this winter, Ben Cherington was right not to cave at a steep asking price for an elite arm.
Instead, Boston went with a young staff that could be relied upon to stay on the field and perform effectively. With the exception of Clay Buchholz, you can safely pencil in each starter for close to, if not more than, 200 innings per season. But of course, staying healthy is just half the battle, with actual performance serving as the other, more weighted, half. For the Sox rotation, this means that they will need to live up to the high ground ball numbers that have been attributed to them. By now you’re probably familiar with the fact that Justin Masterson, Wade Miley, and Rick Porcello all hold a career ground ball percentage in the neighborhood of 50%.
With that said, the Red Sox shouldn’t close the door on adding a high quality arm if the opportunity roles around (hello, Stephen Strasburg), but if nothing materializes they’ll still be in a good spot to compete.
- The Red Sox agreed to terms on a minor league contract with left-handed pitcher Dana Eveland on Tuesday. Eveland, who has pitched as both a starter and reliever over his 9 year career, most recently made 30 appearances out of the New York Mets bullpen posting a 2.63 ERA, and averaging a strikeout per inning. The 30-year old will join Tommy Layne and Drake Britton as left-handed relief depth for the Red Sox. (Red Sox sign Dana Eveland)
- After enjoying a breakout season with the Portland Sea Dogs in 2014, left-hander Brian Johnson now finds himself among the best young pitchers in the Red Sox organization. Throwing alongside fellow southpaw Henry Owens last year, the 24-year old displayed sound mechanics and a solid four pitch arsenal. Looking ahead to the new season, Johnson figures to join Owens at the triple-A level and could soon find his way to Boston. (Brian Johnson prepared to follow up stellar 2014 campaign)
- While Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts will both likely be in the Red Sox Opening Day lineup, their positions on the field are far less certain. Betts, a native second baseman, spent 37 games in the outfield last season, with the bulk of the work coming in center field. Castillo on the other hand, has the speed of a center fielder, but his arm might be better utilized in right field. Amid the uncertainty, both players are gearing up to man center field in Boston in 2015. (Win-Win: Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo both prepared to be Boston Red Sox center fielder)
- From front office moves to player acquisitions, the American League East has certainly underwent some major changes this offseason. The Red Sox, who revamped their starting rotation and added some thump to their order, seem like the big winners of the winter. Elsewhere, the Blue Jays fortified their offense, while the Yankees made some smaller adjustments. Meanwhile, both the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles have tried to shoulder the blow of significant losses. (Yankees lost ground to Red Sox, Blue Jays in race to upgrade)
- Tweet of the day: Today is apparently National hug day. Take it away, Papi.
In honor of #NationalHugDay. @TeamUehara @davidortiz pic.twitter.com/zXTICrN71L
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) January 21, 2015