Mark Melancon Mark Melancon

Possible No. 5 Starters for the Red Sox in 2012

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The Red Sox made a move this week in trading for reliever Mark Melancon to help their bullpen. It has also been learned this week that Daniel Bard will enter spring training this year as a starter (click here for WEEI’s Rob Bradford’s interview with Bard). So as of today the starting rotation has Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard.

With John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka out for all of or at least the majority of 2012, and in all likelihood Tim Wakefield either not returning to the team, or if he does more of a role that he had last year, the Red Sox are in need of a fifth starter. Here are a list of a few guys that could fill that role:

Gio Gonzalez

It has been rumored that the Red Sox are very high on Gonzalez of the Oakland Athletics. The tricky part with Gonzalez is that he is not a free agent, so the Red Sox would need to trade for him, most likely prospects and that might not be easy to find a match. The 26-year-old Gonzalez finished last season 16-12 with a 3.12 ERA. He pitched a career high 202 innings, and if the Red Sox and A’s could work out a fair deal Gonzalez could be a good fit in Boston.

Roy Oswalt

With Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson off the market Oswalt might be the next best free agent available. The 34-year-old struggled last season and has rumored contemplating retiring, but pitching for the Red Sox might be the best case scenario for Oswalt. He wouldn’t be the No. 1 or No. 2 starter, he would just need to be a serviceable fourth of fifth starter. Last season with the Phillies he pitched 139 innings and finished 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA. Oswalt has never pitched in the American League, which might effect the Red Sox’ interest.

Joe Saunders

The left-hander was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks, so the Red Sox could try and lure him away from Arizona and bring him to Boston. The 30-year-old has pitched in the majors for seven seasons and had some success with the Angels before moving to the Diamondbacks. Last season Saunders was 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA. He could be a good fit in Boston for relatively cheap money.

John Danks

The White Sox are reportedly looking to deal away some of their starting pitching, Danks being one of them. Again, the Red Sox would need to put together the right package of prospects in order to get him. The 26-year-old Danks has been in the league for five seasons, all with the White Sox. He won over 10 games three straight seasons before only winning eight last season. He went 8-12 last year with a 4.33 ERA and could be primed for a solid 2012 season with whatever team he is on.

Alfredo Aceves

Aceves is under contract with the Red Sox in 2012 and after pitching primarily out of the bullpen in 2011, it has been rumored that Aceves wants to start in 2012. With the Red Sox already saying that Bard will enter spring training as a starter I think it is unlikely that the Red Sox would do the same with Aceves. He was the team’s best reliever for all of September and pitched very well out of the bullpen the entire season. Making him a starter would really effect the bullpen, and in my opinion his best role on the team is being the first guy out of the bullpen in the 6th or 7th inning or even setting up for whomever the Red Sox designate as their closer.

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