Now that the question on whether Now that the question on whether

Is Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Bard ready to Start?


Now that the question on whether John Lackey will be pitching for the Sox in 2012 has been answered, it is time to look at the possible starting rotation. You can put all the drama surrounding Josh Beckett to bed; there is no way that the Sox will be trading Beckett this offseason. That means Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Beckett are secured, who fills the final two spots? Instead of going out and overpaying for a C.J. Wilson or even C.C. Sabathia, why not utilize what we already have.

There are plenty of relievers available in the open market of via trades this offseason so why not fill the positions from within? Alfredo Aceves has earned the opportunity to start. In relief he was throwing 4-6 innings an outing. No reason to believe that he can’t give the Sox quality starts at least 90% of the time. I think Daniel Bard would be an interesting fifth starter. Like his friend, Justin Masterson, Bard is very interested in converting to a starter. Now that he has developed a change up there is no reason for Bard to throw 98 mph fastballs all the time. Even if Jonathan Papelbon leaves, which is a high probability, I would start Bard rather than have him close. Of course my first preference is to keep Papelbon and find an 8th inning set up man. But if Papelbon finds a new home, then seek another closer elsewhere. We don’t even know if Bard has recovered mentally from his late season melt down and he has too much talent to waste.

Regardless who is the next manager or pitching coach, I find it hard to believe that Lester, Beckett or Buchholz would dare to come into the spring out of shape. These three have been heavily scrutinized to the point where their reputations has been severely damaged. I don’t think any of these three are quitters and look for them to be on a mission to prove to everyone and mostly themselves that people’s perceptions of them are wrong. Add Aceves and Bard to fill the void left by  Daisuke Matsuzaka and Lackey and you now have a formidable starting rotation. Is it the best in the American League? Probably not, but outside of Tampa Bay its pretty close. I would match these five against the Yankees, Angels and Rangers right now.

Ben Cherington has a lot to prove as the new General Manager, I don’t think he needs to go out and spend big money on a free agent but to evaluate what he has within the organization and utilize the talent he already has. I find that this offseason turmoil could actually help this team. Don’t you think that the players on this team aren’t sitting at home chopping at the bit to get back on the field? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; I expect this team to show up in February stronger than ever.

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