Having traded away Jon Lester and John Lackey back on July 31st, the Boston Red Sox now need to rework the starting rotation to include a couple front line starters to work alongside Clay Buchholz and several of the Red Sox prospects next season.
Sure, the Red Sox have money to spend, but what pitchers can the Red Sox go after via trade or free agency?
1. James Shields: The veteran starter has not fared well at Fenway Park or against the New York Yankees in his career, but he has shown to be a competitor as the Kansas City Royals are back in the World Series for the first time since 1985. If the Red Sox want “Big Game” James on their team, it might take a better AAV with shorter years and they have the money to work with. The 5.19 postseason ERA does not affect this decision.
2. Jon Lester: The Red Sox may have really done themselves a disservice by not signing Lester during spring training, but they still have a chance to sign him for a luxurious contract. Sure, the $24-26 million contract might be too much, but during the postseason Lester has been a rock prior to 2014.
3. Cole Hamels: The Philadelphia Phillies have put Hamels out on the market, but he has not pitched well in his limited starts against AL teams. The 30-year-old already has a contract through 2018 with a team option in 2019. The Red Sox would have to put together a great package, but it could be a nice acquisition for the right price.
4. Ervin Santana: With a respectable 3.24 ERA two seasons ago with the Royals and a 3.94 ERA with the Atlanta Braves in 2014, Santana looks like a steady No. 2 starter who can eat up innings. He has less than 150 innings pitched twice in his 10-year career and could be a viable asset for a Red Sox pitching staff that had some health issues throughout the season.
5. Edinson Volquez: The 31-year-old might not be the most consistent pitcher on the market, but he did show great composure down the stretch for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sure, the San Francisco Giants roughed him up in the Wild Card game, but he could be a quality guy for cheap. His 13-7 record with a 3.04 ERA is impressive and were his best numbers since 2008 with the Cincinnati Reds. Volquez could be the best option if the Red Sox want to go cheap for pitchers with potential.