In my first post about the Red Sox off-season outlook I talked about the BoSox possibly chasing after soon-to-be big name free agent, Texas Rangers Outfielder, Josh Hamilton. This time around I’d like to talk about a position that will hopefully have opposing batters chasing fastballs and breaking balls for consistent outs at Fenway Park.
That’s right I’m talking about a makeover on the mound. No doubt the Red Sox pitching staff had it’s struggles in 2012 with a 5.18 team ERA ranked 27th in the majors. However, despite those dreary numbers, the Sox still have a solid nucleus to build around with the likes of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Felix Doubront. Newly acquired skipper John Farrell has insisted all three starters, and John Lackey, will be back to pitch next season. Granted, Lackey is returning from Tommy John surgery and his performance so far in Beantown leaves plenty of room for skepticism from the Fenway Faithful. That leaves the 5th spot in the rotation open for debate.
Let’s look at the clubhouse options versus free agents this upcoming off-season:
Aaron Cook in 2012: 4 and 11 record with 20 strikeouts and a 1.47 WHIP and 5.65 ERA
Alfredo Aceves in 2012: 25 saves, 75 strikeouts, a 5.36 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP (Sox could attempt moving Aceves into a starting role like they tried with Bard, though personally I’d keep him in the bullpen)
Daniel Bard in 2012: 5 and 6 record, 38 strikeouts, a 1.74 ERA and a 6.22 ERA
Andrew Miller in 2012: 51 strikeouts with a 1.19 ERA and a 3.35 ERA.
Junichi Tazawa: 1 save, 45 strikeouts with a 0.95 WHIP and a 1.43 ERA (had an impressive season out of the bullpen coming back from Tommy John surgery)
Allen Webster and Rubby de la Rosa: Both were apart of the Red Sox big trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and are solid pitching prospects who could be brought up.
Free Agent Finds:
Zack Greinke: 2012 stats: 15 and 5 record with 200 strikeouts, a 1.20 WHIP and a 3.48 ERA (Also he’s a Cy Young award winner. Won it back in 2009 with the Kansas City Royals)
Anibal Sanchez: 2012 stats: 9 and 13 record with 167 strikeouts, a 1.27 WHIP and a 3.86 ERA
Kyle Lohse: 2012 stats: 16 and 3 record with 143 strikeouts, a 1.09 WHIP and a 2.86 ERA
Jake Peavy: 2012 stats: 11 and 12 record with 194 strikeouts, a 1.10 WHIP and a 3.37 ERA
Edwin Jackson: 2012 stats: 10 and 11 record with 168 strikeouts, a 1.22 WHIP and a 4.03 ERA
Dan Haren: 12 and 13 record with 142 strikeouts, a 1.29 WHIP and a 4.33 ERA
Ervin Santana: 9 and 13 record with 133 strikeouts, a 1.27 WHIP and a 5.16 ERA
Any one of the free agent options listed above would provide the Red Sox with a proven starter in the 5th spot, and depending on which one the Sox landed could even be a solid 4th spot guy with Lackey moving to the 5th spot. If the sox went after Greinke, he could even be a 2 or 3 guy for Boston. However most of those guys would expect a top dollar deal (especially Greinke being a top free agent pitcher) and Boston may not want to spend the money they freed up in the Dodgers deal.
How do you think the Red Sox should approach the pitching rotation? Should they solve it internally or should they spend some cash on the best arm available? Leave a comment in the box below.