Ranking the best trade targets for the 2015 Red Sox rotation

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This represents part three of a five part analysis of the 2015 Red Sox rotation. Part one analyzed which of the current Red Sox starters had earned a spot in the 2015 rotation, while part two examined the free agent market for potential fits. This third segment is an in-depth showcase of the options that may be available via the trade market this winter to bolster the rotation. This post categorizes players into those that I am confident can be acquired and players that may not be so easily pried from their current club. These rankings DO rank the target pitchers by talent; unlike with the free agent list, I do not believe the Red Sox have many restrictions on their trade philosophy, and thus looked at it from the perspective that any one of these pitchers could be had given the value of the team’s prospects.

Honorable Mention: Jon Niese

Sep 2, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (49) throws during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The 27-year old Niese has flown way under the radar, not only trapped on the miserable Mets, but concealed behind the flashy young upstarts Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, and even Noah Syndergaard, who has not even thrown a pitch in the major leagues. The quietly effective Niese put together a sub 3.50 ERA for the second time in the last three years, while compiling 185 or more innings pitched for the second time in the same span. But his true value lies in his contract; the Mets made a surprisingly astute move, signing him to a very team-friendly deal before he started thriving.

Next year, he will enter the fourth year of a five year, $25.27 million deal. Even more appealing are the two option years, both held by the team, that can keep him under club control for a still reasonable $21 million divided across two seasons. With a FIP that doesn’t promote concerns of regression, Niese looks like a safe option, and one who will be affordable in both monetary value and trade value. That said, he deserves honorable mention because he would best be suited as a number three or four starter. If the Red Sox decide to sign an ace and call it quits, Niese would slot in nicely behind Buchholz and ahead of Kelly, bumping De La Rosa to the bullpen.