With the demand for starting pitchers this offseason, MLB teams are searching for possible trade targets. So why are they asking the Boston Red Sox?
Has everyone lost their minds?
It’s no secret that the Red Sox severely suffered from a lack of pitching dominance in the starting rotation in 2015. Why do other MLB teams bothering with asking Boston for a trade including some of their talent? They will need all the help they can get next season.
Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reported last Tuesday that “Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has fielded calls from executives interested in potential trades involving his starting pitchers.” Thankfully, Dombrowski had some sense to bring to the conversation:
"“But the reality is, is that we don’t feel driven to really move it. Again, you listen to anything. But most of the guys other than Steven Wright, everybody has (minor league) options available. And if you’re ever going to have depth, that’s probably a good option for us to have it in. So we’re not driven really to do anything with it.”"
Smith adds that “despite the depth, as it stands today, the Red Sox will enter the 2016 season with just two starters — [David] Price and [Rick] Porcello — who have ever pitched 200 or more innings in one major league season. And Porcello has done it only once (204 2/3 innings in 2014).”
Before delving into the trade possibilities (more like improbabilities), let’s look at why the Red Sox can’t really part with any form of talent on the mound just yet.
The Red Sox were the fifth worst team in all of Major League Baseball for runs allowed per game by the starting rotation (4.65), just behind the Atlanta Braves (4.69), the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers (4.99), and the Colorado Rockies (5.21). The league average for quality starts was 81; the Red Sox fell short of that by one start.
As much as Red Sox Nation would maybe desire to see some of their starters responsible for that mess to now be playing for other teams, such as Wade Miley whom was recently traded, Boston’s historic franchise needs to be very careful. They can’t afford to let go of pitching depth who could turn out to be vital for the entire season.
Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and the aforementioned Wright are just some of that depth outside of the possible starting rotation. With Clay Buchholz coming off of an injury-plagued 2015; Joe Kelly‘s inconsistency; Eduardo Rodriguez‘s youth; and Porcello’s apparent ineptitude, that everyone is hoping won’t continue next season, the Red Sox can’t count on any name not spelled Price to start on the mound with complete confidence. Thus, a logjam of pitchers who can start games is looking more like an insurance policy.
Who would blame them? After those numbers in 2015, the Red Sox will be looking to limit opposing teams’ runs as a major priority. Even with the team scoring the fourth most runs in the majors (748), the Red Sox couldn’t keep the other teams off of the scoreboard, often digging a hole for themselves that they found too difficult to escape. That issue alone was greatly responsible for the Red Sox placing last in the American League East division for a second season in a row.
Some trades could be tempting, but not without a sane plan to protect the starting rotation. Boston already gets called ‘Beantown’; they don’t need to be called ‘Crazytown’ as well.