Boston Red Sox: What restrictions on finding an ace?

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Sep 8, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher

Sonny Gray

(54) throws a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

3) John Henry

The Red Sox principal owner has gone on record stating his preference for young pitchers on long (and affordable) team controlled contracts. While Dombrowski wasn’t brought in to be restrained, that doesn’t mean that this dynamic has gone away.

If anything, previous Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington was known for being stingy with prospects and splurging on free agents to protect the farm. With Dombrowski, all cards are on the table and all options to success will be explored. Speaking to WEEI, Dombrowski had this to say;

"“I have always tried not to say players are untouchable. The reason I have done that is because you can never tell when somebody makes you an offer you just can’t believe. If you have Miguel Cabrera, somebody may offer you two Miguel Cabreras. Probably not going to happen, probably never will happen, but unless you listen, you don’t know.”"

First, two Cabreras would be bizarre but incredible. Second, it’s clear that Dombrowski is willing to listen on anybody, to get what he needs. With this in mind, he has a lot of trade chips ready and waiting for use if the price is right. An ace on a controllable contract who is still in his mid-twenties can carry the side for years and free up potential finance in the payroll for other upgrades, as required.

There are certainly several tempting potentials. Rumors have been flying around about a possible trade for Oakland A’s ace Sonny Gray who is only 25 years old and has a career ERA of 2.88. Such a pickup would be costly, but the rewards for Boston are about as big as they come.

Another option could be ace-in-the-making Carlos Carrasco, currently in waiting for Dombrowski’s call at the Cleveland Indians. Carrasco’s 3.36 ERA may not be as flashy as Gray’s 2.73 on the year, but he managed a top ten FIP of 2.66 and has an obscene K/9 rate of 10.5. While a little older than Gray at 28, he’s still young and the Indians could provide an easier trade partner. Their solid pitching staff is lacking in big bats and the Red Sox could dangle a number of show-ready players like Blake Swihart and Jackie Bradley Jr in a package with some prospects. They could even elect to take Hanley Ramirez off our hands. We wish.

Speaking of Ramirez, the San Diego Padres could provide a suitable dumping ground for his and other ill-advised free agency contracts that Boston took upon themselves last offseason. Provided the Red Sox eat some of the money of course. In return, there is an enticing piece in Tyson Ross available who, at 28, is pitching like an ace with an ERA of 3.26 and K/9 of 9.7.

All of these options and more may be appealing to Henry and certainly aren’t outside the realms of possibility for Dombrowski. Conversely, options like Johnny Cueto could be easily ruled out due to long standing concerns for his arm that have only been compounded by more recent disappointing outings.

Whatever the result, Dombrowski has his work cut out for him and doubtless won’t be putting all his baseballs in one bag. All of the options will be examined and many tires will be kicked in what proves to be one of the most exciting offseasons in Boston in some time.