Cole Hamels and the remaining pitching options
In one has been a staggering off-season, the Red Sox have been among the biggest movers and shakers around the league.
And yet, they still find themselves without the “ace” pitcher that everyone has been waiting on after Jon Lester, John Lackey, Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy were shipped out in 2014.
But the root of the problems with the 2014 team were offensive, and the team has addressed those woes in a big way. Along with the mid-season addition of Rusney Castillo, the team brought in two more big name bats before the Winter Meetings began in Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. With a bounce back season from Mike Napoli and hopefully breakout years from Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, the team will be presenting one of the most high powered offenses in the American League.
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Once the Winter Meetings rolled around, it became time to turn to pitching. The big fish was Lester, but after all the hoopla had subsided he was wearing a Cubs hat. As Red Sox Nation recoiled from the shock of the (second) loss of one of the most memorable Boston athletes of the last decade, Ben Cherington quickly reacted by bringing in three mid rotation arms in Wade Miley, Justin Masterson and Rick Porcello. But none of those players was an ace last year, and likely will not be this year.
Some have brought up the question of whether the Red Sox need that workhorse number one starter, a fair question to ponder. But for a team with World Series aspirations, there are many question marks as highlighted by the recently released Steamer projections. Fans know how unreliable Clay Buchholz is, and they will be counting on a return to form for Masterson, and a pretty big step forward from Miley, Kelly and Porcello. Porcello may make that leap, but it remains to be seen if Kelly and Miley can step up.
Fortunately the team has other options. Here are a few ways that the team can build up their pitching a little more to make that World Series dream come true.