Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski wants a No. 1 starter


What was Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski’s response when asked about his plan for rebuilding the rotation?

"“Start with one, go from there,” Dombrowski said during Tuesday’s press conference, per’s John Tomase."

Dombrowski isn’t worried about filling the back end of the rotation, with the likes of Rick Porcello and Wade Miley capable of being serviceable innings-eaters. Young lefties Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens flashed enough potential in their rookie seasons to warrant consideration for next year’s rotation as well.

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What this team needs is an ace to anchor the staff, allowing the rest of the rotation to fall into place behind their leader. A workhorse that can go deep into games in order to help keep the bullpen rested, while also proving capable of stepping up to stop the bleeding when the team desperately needs to end a losing streak.

Boston currently has about $128 million committed to next year’s roster, before accounting for those facing arbitration and the young players that remain under team control for cheap. While the Red Sox have yet to make a decision on Clay Buchholz‘s option, it sounds like they intend to pick it up, which would raise the payroll another $13 million. Considering Dombrowski indicated that 2015’s payroll – which topped the luxury tax and pushed $200 million – was a good barometer to estimate next year’s projection, the Red Sox should still have room to splurge on a free agent starter.

Then again, their farm system is loaded with enough assets that they could use to pull off a trade for a cheaper alternative if they prefer to spread the rest of their money around to fix holes in the bullpen and bolster the depth on the roster. The Red Sox have options and Dombrowski intends to explore them all.

"“I think there are various ways we’re going to go about this,” explained Dombrowski. “I don’t think there’s anything set in stone yet. For the other guys on the pitching staff, to have a guy that shows them the way in a lot of cases, we have a lot of guys in position to do those things, but that can always help from a makeup standpoint, an experience standpoint, to be ready for a long season.”"

The previous front office regime made the mistake of believing that they could get by with a collection of middling starters by loading up on offense. The plan was to win by out-slugging the competition, but the plan backfired when the offense struggled in the first half of the season and the pitching turned out to be even worse than anticipated. Don’t expect Dombrowski to make the same mistake as his predecessor.

The Red Sox have several options they could take to pursue a top of the rotation starter, but they already have an advantage over the position they were in a year ago. While they were content to settle for less last year after striking out with their top option, the man that is now pulling the strings is intent on having an ace, one way or another.

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