Boston Red Sox: No Shelby Miller, no problem

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Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox may have balked at the astronomical price demanded in a trade for Shelby Miller, but what options do they have for the number 2 slot in the rotation in 2016?

If you’ve been following the hot stove this offseason and, meanwhile, avoiding calendars and the mention of any forthcoming holidays, I can’t blame you for thinking it’s April already. With a bang, the offseason kicked off and the free agent acquisition dominoes didn’t just fall, they imploded. Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Ops Dave Dombrowski moved quick and took the prize, David Price, alongside other key upgrades that caused not ripples, nor even waves, but tsunamis. Panic buying ensued among other clubs desperate to snatch up the remaining talent and, at least, give the appearance of trying to remain competitive.

Costs for talent via both trades and free agency are obscene, don’t believe me? Look no further than perhaps the most lopsided and bizarre trade since Tim Fortugno was traded for a bucket of baseballs – the Arizona Diamondbacks sent Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair, 2015 first draft pick Dansby Swanson and owner Ken Kendrick’s private jet to the Atlanta Braves for… Shelby Miller. Leaving aside the ridiculousness of the whole thing, that put an end to a much talked about possibility for the Red Sox. Behind Price, they said, Boston needs an established number 2 to solidify the rotation going forward. Now, nobody is anything but thankful that particular kind of momentary insanity afflicted Dombrowski and he made a similar trade for Miller, but the question of a number 2 after Price remains unanswered.

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Or does it? It seems to me, that if Miller is the target then the Red Sox may already have hit the bull’s-eye a number of times, without even realizing it. Skeptical? After 2015 I don’t blame you. Certainly pitching depth seems to be there, a plethora of back-of-the-rotation starters who inspire confidence akin to a chocolate fireguard. Joe Kelly, Henry Owens, newly acquired lefty Roenis Elias and even Steven Wright all have their moments, their advantages and their claim to a slot, however none of them come close to putting it together enough to sit at the front of the rotation.

After that, however, I think things are a lot rosier than we have been led to believe up until now. Certainly, Dombrowski and his army of experts aren’t sitting on their hands due to ignorance. There is confidence in what is already available and that, somehow, with the addition of Price and the shoring up of the bullpen, a number 2 starter can find himself.

Who are the candidates, how do they compare to Miller and what claim to the slot in the Red Sox 2016 rotation can they make? Let’s take a look.

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