Red Sox: Filling potential starting pitching holes during 2017 season

September 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood (32) throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
September 22, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood (32) throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Red Sox starting rotation is loaded. What happens with a plethora of injuries? What is available on the world of potential free agents?

The Boston Red Sox have an abundance of starting pitching and have a three-way competition for two slots in the rotation. Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Drew Pomeranz will attempt to impress management enough to be among the starting five. With one left out that just adds ever important depth.

Pitching often crashes and burns. The history is there for the Red Sox and 29 other teams for when all seems rosy the rose just wilts. Performance suddenly dissipates or arms go lame – usually a domino effect with one injury joining another and another. What happens then?

The place to look is outside the system. The Red Sox farm system has limited pitching resources, but other teams may be willing to part with soon to be free agents. If late June or early July rolls around and the Red Sox are short an arm or two or even three the potential free agent market may offer an option.

The Red Sox’ Dave Dombrowski has shown that being young and talented in the Boston farm system may be an exit visa to perform elsewhere. DD has no qualms about tossing a promising prospect to the trade winds for the here and now. That would certainly apply to in season dealing to fill a need.

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If any of the ones I have listed arrive in Boston you know a bad – very bad – set of circumstances has taken place. They do, however, represent a better option than Kyle Kendrick, Shawn Haviland, or if Sean O’Sullivan is deported from South Korea. A most signifcant issue would be the luxury tax as several have contracts that could push Boston into that territory.

Right-hander Alex Cobb is still in recovery mode from arm surgery and 2016 (1-2, 8.59) was a testing of the arm. If Cobb returns to 2012-14 form he would be a potential trade target as the Rays are known for dealing players approaching a walk year.

St. Louis usually retains talented pitchers and right-hander Lance Lynn (12-11, 3.03 – 2015) is just that. As with every potential move, it is dependent upon team performance and contractual concerns. If Lynn becomes available and has recovered from arm surgery (missed 2016)  his addition would certainly compensate for any rotation shortcomings. Contract is manageable at $7.5 Million.

Why not? Yes – I have slipped off the rails and will mention Clay Buchholz. He was given away with a nondescript prospect tossed in as compensation. Buchholz has landed in Philadelphia that is in the process of rebuilding. The Phillies may have brought CB on board with the intent of waiting for late spring market developments. Could happen, but so can Heather Locklear giving me a call.

The White Sox have a right-handed Miguel Gonzalez (5-8, 3.73) that has lower end rotation stamped on his passport elsewhere. Gonzalez is an upgrade over the usual pickups assigned to Pawtucket. Gozalez is signed for $5.9 Million for 2017.

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Mike Minor (6-12, 4.77) did not impress in 2016, but a return to 2014-15 could increase his value. That happens his new team – the Royals – may be interested in a deal.  Minor has an option ($10 Million) for 2018.

I remember when Matt Garza (6-8, 4.51) was considered a valuable addition to any staff. At $12.5 Million any uptick such as getting his FIP and ERA under 4.00 may get him a look. Garza was demoted off the Brewers rotation and is on the books for $12.5 Million in 2017.

Tyler Chatwood (12-9, 3.87) made it back from the usual arm reconstruction surgery. The righty toils for the Rockies and they are a team that is certainly a willing trade partner. What stands out with Chatwood is 8-1, 1.69 – his road figures. If Chatwood is posting those numbers in 2017 he will cost. His contract is $4.4 Million for 2017 – a bargain.

Trevor Cahill (4-4, 2.74) only made one start for the Cubs, but his overall performance was excellent after several seasons of being consistent – with injuries, that is.  Cahill just signed a one year deal with the Padres for an inexpensive $1.75 Million.

Another Atlanta option is newly acquired lefty Jaime Garcia (10-13, 4.67). The long time Cardinal made 30 starts in 2016 and has won 10+ games in four different seasons. Garcia has a $12 Million contract for 2017.

A healthy Anibal Sanchez (7-13, 5.87) is a very good pitcher, but the healthy part is always the question of the day. At $16 Million (plus $5 M option) Detroit may be willing to part with Sanchez for lower end prospects. The need exists in Boston and Sanchez is healthy it could get done.

Ricky Nolasco (8-14, 4.42) seems to move around each season. A noted bottom of the rotation righty who does not issue many walks and at one career point put in six straight 10+ win seasons. Nolasco sits on a $12 Million contract for 2017 with an option/buyout for 2018.

Next: Red Sox vs Indians: Starting Rotation

Will the Royals have a fire sale? If they do then Ian Kennedy (11-11, 3.68) and his $20 Million contract (includes a potential buyout) may be available. The right-handed Kennedy has had a checkered career but has made 30+ starts each of the last three seasons. His contract could minimize the talent exchange since he has an opt out that if not exercised kicks in another three years for almost $50 Million.

Sources: Baseball-reference/MLBtraderumors/Cot’s