The search for an ace has been debated and tossed around among the Red Sox fans and media ad nauseam with Dave Dombrowski making a virtual blood oath to Red Sox Nation to bring one home to roost at Fenway Park in 2016. Failure is not an option, DD.
The usual suspects have been debated with Sonny Gray, Chris Sale, Matt Harvey, David Price, Johnny Cueto and Zack Greinke the most notable cast of characters that fit the description of ace. But just what is an ace? To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart “I know one when I see one.”
The Red Sox may have such a product on their payroll in Eduardo Rodriguez who had a breakout season in 2015. The caution flag is out for a breakout can often be followed by a breakdown season. That tumultuous frustration has happened to every team in baseball. Great arms do not necessarily come with stable minds and the Boston environment can place any pitcher of merit onto a ledge at Millennium Place. Even the bon vivant, David Wells, found the intrusive fans of Red Sox Nation and the persistent scrutiny of the media to even tax his normally placid baseball exterior.
Is there a second tier to the ace madness? The possibility of pitching sloppy seconds? Those that are somehow devoid of ace magic impressed upon them? Pitchers who are as Maxwell Smart would say: “Missed it by that much.” In some cases it is the pitchers who have taken a step back and it other cases those who may take that step forward and be knighted a true ace.
Now for a look at a few select pitching bodies that could be in Boston if the “Top Six” go nowhere or elsewhere.