Yesterday, I went over the position players on the Red Sox and summarized who the Red Sox could reasonably trade to “blow it up”. Today, I will take a look at the pitching staff, primarily the starters, to see who could be traded.
The Red Sox starting pitching situation is, well….complicated. You have the alpha dog in Josh Beckett, a proven big game pitcher whose best days are behind him. He’s also the only starter the Red Sox have with any consistent command of the strike zone. He is also due almost $40 million in the next two and a half years. His value is similar to Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in that the Red Sox would have to eat significant money or get little back in return for Beckett. Considering that he’s coming off his best statistical season, would that really be wise? What about Jon Lester? Well, his situation is similar to Jacoby Ellsbury’s in that he is going to get huge dollars in free agency (or from Boston) in a couple of years. However, Boston controls Lester for two more years after this at very reasonable money (about $4 million for the rest of this year, $11.5 million next year and a team option for $13 million in 2014). For that reason, he is the most complicated trade asset that Boston has right now. The Red Sox could get a ton for him, but do they want to do that when A) their pitching is not very good B) Lester is only 28 years old and C) Boston has him for somewhat of a bargain the next two and a half years? Lester is an enormous kid, so it is unlikely that he will breakdown in his early 30’s. Along with Ellsbury, this is the most interesting situation to monitor over the next season or so.
Other Red Sox pitchers have been too inconsistent to have anywhere near the value they once had (Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard), although Buchholz has turned it around after one of the worst starts to a season that any Boston pitcher has ever had. Still, that performance is going to limit his trade value for the time being. Felix Doubront is clearly a keeper, Daisuke Matsuzaka will be gone after the season and Boston still has the completely untradeable John Lackey coming back next year (and 2014) as well. In the bullpen, beside Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Miller, I don’t think anyone in that mix could bring back anything of significant value to Boston.
Bottom line, there are a lot of ways that the Red Sox can go. They certainly are going to have some tough decisions to make, particularly in the outfield. With somewhat of a youth movement beginning to take hold for Boston, the next few months are going to determine this team’s direction for the next couple of seasons.
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