With the Boston Red Sox having lost out on the second coming of Jon Lester, have added two starting pitchers, but one of them came at a considerable price.
Today, the Sox acquired Rick Porcello from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Porcello did have an outstanding season in 2014 going 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and led the AL with three shutouts. Porcello, who turns 26 later this month, enters the 2015 season with a record of 76-63 with a 4.30 ERA in six seasons in Detroit.
But I would have wanted a lot more than Porcello if it meant giving up Cespedes. The Sox acquired Cespedes from Oakland last July for Lester and drove in 33 RBI in 51 games. Overall, Cespedes finished 2014 with 100 RBI. I would have liked to see what Cespedes could do in a full season at Fenway. But Cespedes is a free agent after next season and became the odd man out when the Sox signed Hanley Ramirez. If you ask me to choose between Cespedes and Ramirez, I’d pick Cespedes every time. In any case, the Tigers just got a lot better. With Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Cespedes in the middle of that order, it might be enough for the Tigers to win their fifth consecutive AL Central title. On top of that, the Red Sox also threw in reliever Alex Wilson.
The Red Sox also acquired lefty Wade Miley from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for pitchers Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and a minor leaguer to be named later. In 2012, Miley finished runner up to Bryce Harper for NL Rookie of the Year honors when he won 16 games. But he’s gone 10-10 and 8-12 since. Still, he’s a durable pitcher who can toss 200 innings for you and at 28 has a few good years left in him.
So at the moment the Red Sox rotation looks like this: Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Brandon Workman. This could change, of course. I don’t think they’ll land Porcello’s teammate Max Scherzer, but a James Shields isn’t out of the question. If that doesn’t work then maybe they could send Mookie Betts to Washington for Doug Fister or Jordan Zimmermann. I think Red Sox Nation would feel a lot better if one more starter could be added. Still, the fact that the Sox need to get two, possibly three starting pitchers to fill the void left by Jon Lester tells you a lot about just how good Jon Lester is.
As the old saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Well, it was gone and the Red Sox still didn’t know what they had.
UPDATE: The Red Sox have added Justin Masterson on a one year deal worth $9.5 million. Masterson began his career with the Sox in 2008 before being dealt to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline in 2009 for Victor Martinez. He would be named to the AL All-Star Team in 2013 when he won a career high 14 games. But Masterson would struggle in 2014 splitting the year with the Tribe and with the St. Louis Cardinals going 7-9 with a sky high 5.88 ERA. If the Sox can’t get Shields, Zimmermann or Fister then Masterson will start. If they can, he can pitch out of the bullpen. Perhaps going back to John Farrell is what the doctor ordered.
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