Early predictions for the 2015 Red Sox rotation

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Number Three Starter: Clay Buchholz

Sep 28, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) delivers a pitch during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Which is why I’m giving it to him. For 2015 at least, Vasquez should see a lot of playing time while the super prospect Swihart refines his abilitiwa in Triple A for one more year. Vasquez is a tremendous game caller, sets up low, frames pitches phenomenally, and throws out anyone that runs on the bases. All four of these skills will aid Clay Buchholz. As someone with a deep repertoire of pitches, having Vasquez behind the plate to keep hitters guessing will just create one less thing for the often mentally shaky Buchholz to worry about. Vasquez also sets up low, where Buchholz makes a living when he is pitching well and if he loses his control slightly as can happen with him, look for Vasquez to pull the ball back and steal a few strikes. Finally, another thing that has always thrown off Buchholz is baserunners. But with his Yadier Molina esque arm, concerns of base runners too will be alleviated. I expect a bounce back year from Buchholz in his contract year, and if we get one, he will be quite the number three starter.

Plan B) Kenta Maeda

Mar 17, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Japan starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (20) pitches the ball against Puerto Rico during the first inning of the World Baseball Classic semifinal at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Another interesting mid rotation option is the latest superstar pitcher to head for Major League Baseball from Japan, Kenta Maeda. As my colleague Conor Duffy wrote, Maeda has already expressed interest in signing a (lucrative) deal with either the Red Sox or Yankees. But, unlike last year in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes where the Yankees had a strong lineup and no rotation, this year, the shoe is on the other foot and the Red Sox find themselves needing pitchers. But the sticking point could be the six year, $130 million dollar deal he is reportedly seeking. As Conor wrote, the Red Sox scouts don’t view him as a top of the rotation arm, so if someone else is willing to break the bank, and after the success of Tanaka, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Yu Darvish it wouldn’t surprise me, we could see Maeda seek greener pastures elsewhere. But if Maeda’s market is that of a mid rotation starter, perhaps in the range of the deal Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez received at five years, and $80 million it would not shock me to see him pitching in our rotation next year.

Plan C) Francisco Liriano

This one seems like a long shot to me. I wish it wasn’t. I trust his talent, and think we could have him on a deal similar to the ones that other risky pitchers like Bartolo Colon and Scott Kazmir received in the range of two to three years and between $10 and $14 million a season, in other words, Cherington’s favorite contract. But alas, there would appear to be no smoke to this one yet, and there is plenty of smoke elsewhere, which leads me to believe that Liriano may not be in the Red Sox’s plans this winter.