Free Agent Friday: Red Sox starting pitching options


The World Series is over and now all of baseball is turning to Hot Stove rumors and speculation. Teams will be anxious to start retooling their lineups and rotations. Last week, we here at BoSox Injection looked at relief pitching options. Now, we turn our attention to starting pitching. This is certainly an area of concern after the trading spree that happened in the middle of the season. The rotations at the beginning of the season and at the end had little in common. Now, we examine five potential free agent targets to put in the Red Sox starting rotation.

Sep 13, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher

Kyle Kendrick

(38) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

#5 Kyle Kendrick

The 30 year-old right hander has been with Philadelphia his whole career where he has accumulated a career ERA of 4.42 with 4.9 SO/9. Now, he’s not going to be the new #1 pitcher, but he could be a decent guy for the 4 or 5 spot. The Red Sox could probably get ahold of him for a reasonable amount. Changing from the NL to the AL could be just the change he needs.

Sep 25, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher

Max Scherzer

(37) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

#4 Max Scherzer

If Detroit can’t keep him, the Sox should be after him. He’s 30 and has been to the All-Star Game the last two seasons. The right hander has an amazing .829 win-loss percentage for the last two seasons. It would be great for the Red Sox to add the 2013 Cy Young winner to the rotation. Max reportedly turned down a large offer (6 years, $144 million) from Detroit earlier in the season. This could be a good sign that he’s looking to leave Detroit. But it could also mean he’s looking for more money or more time than the Red Sox are willing to agree to.

Oct 26, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher

James Shields

throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning during game five of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

#3 James Shields

There’s a little bit of history between Shields and the Red Sox fans after his encounter with Coco Crisp during the 2008 season. Putting history aside, he has been a decent pitcher who could help the Sox rotation. He was an All-Star in 2011, has a career 3.72 ERA, and he’s thrown 22 complete games. In 2014 he had 7.14 K/9 and 4.09 K/BB. He’ll be 33 when the season starts with a lot of inning under his belt, but that workhorse mentality could be a good addition to the pitching mix.

Sep 17, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher

Brandon McCarthy

(38) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

#2 Brandon McCarthy

McCarthy may seem an odd choice given his struggles when he started with the Diamondbacks, but he has bounced back since then. He finished 2014 with the Yankees and had a 2.89 ERA. He showed that he could handle the AL East so moving from the Bronx to Boston wouldn’t be a problem for him, in fact it could even help.

Jul 20, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher

Jon Lester

(31) throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Jon Lester

I think I speak for the majority of Red Sox Nation when I say that we want Lester back. He pitched well for Boston: two World Series rings, four All Star Game appearances, a career 3.58 ERA, and five complete-game shut outs. There was no bad blood between him and the team, at least that we’re aware of, when he was traded to the Oakland Athletics. It was a necessary evil at the time. But now the team could bring him back. The question remains if they will be able to. It looks doubtful that Oakland will be able to keep him, but the Red Sox could face steep competition from other teams with deep pockets, such as the Yankees of course. The Red Sox need Lester back, but how much will they spend for the 30 year-old lefty? How much should they spend to get him back and keep him out of the hands of another team?