If the Boston Red Sox are going to contend in the postseason they will need to upgrade their rotation with a legitimate No. 2 starter.
Let’s be honest – Red Sox fans shouldn’t have a whole lot to complain about right now. The team is in first place, the offense is scoring bundles of runs and we have an exciting young core blossoming before our eyes. In the wake of consecutive last place finishes, what more could you ask for?
Well, this is Boston, so merely being competitive is never sufficient. This team needs to at least make some noise in the postseason in order to wash the taste of the last two years out of our mouths, but in order to do that they are going to need to make some changes in the starting rotation.
The Red Sox have already jettisoned Clay Buchholz to the bullpen, completely shattering any shred of confidence he had left in him. They’ll keep him locked in a box that says “Break glass in case of emergency,” but we can’t count on him to make a significant impact going forward.
He’ll be replaced in the rotation by Eduardo Rodriguez, who the Red Sox hope will build upon his promising rookie season. The team remains high on his upside, and rightly so, but he’s not quite ready to be deemed the No. 2 guy behind ace David Price. Perhaps one day, but we’d like to see a bit more from him before placing that mantle on E-Rod.
Boston could certainly find room in their rotation by removing the replaceable Joe Kelly. A strong finish to the 2015 season and a promising first start after returning from the disabled list this month fooled some into thinking he has earned his spot, but that optimism quickly faded when he followed that with another dud performance. Now he looks like he could be following the path Buchholz was on leading to his banishment from the rotation. If his 6.30 ERA doesn’t convince you that he needs to be replaced, how about the fact that he’s only lasted at least 7 innings nine times in his 78 career starts and has never gone more than 7 1/3 innings.
So we agree, the Red Sox need another proven starter, right? Great, now the only trick is finding one. The organization’s farm system is stacked with trade chips that can be flipped for a pitcher and there are a few appealing options that could be attainable.
Next: Drew Pomeranz