Anthony Ranaudo To Start For Red Sox Friday 8/29

anthony ranaudoOn Friday, Anthony Ranaudo will be called-up to take the hill for the Boston Red Sox. As a result, Edwin Escobar will be sent back down to Pawtucket to make room for Ranaudo.This has yet to officially occur, but will by midday Friday.

Ranaudo, 24, will be making his third career big league start after earning wins against both the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees. He gets the nod in place of Brandon Workman who tossed the worst outing of his career on Sunday allowing seven earned in the fourth inning recording just one out.
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This time, Ranaudo will be facing Chris Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. It goes without saying that Anthony Ranaudo has never pitched at the Trop or against the Tampa Bay Rays for that matter.

On the year in Pawtucket, Ranaudo is  posting a 2.61 ERA in 24 starts for the Paw Sox while walking 54 and striking out 111 men on 138.0 innings of work. His numbers were good enough to earn him a prestigious pitching award — International League Pitcher of the Year.
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In his place, Brandon Workman will take the hill in Pawtucket on Friday so in essence, the two are switching places — for now.

For Ranaudo, this outing will be important because it will help determine whether or not he makes the Red Sox rotation next season. So far, Ranaudo has impressed at the big league level, but he will not be handed a job right away. He will need to string together a few more quality outings before being considered for a spot in the 2015 Red Sox rotation. For young pitchers, consistency is key.
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With the season falling apart, Friday night could be one of the bright points of a rather bleak year. Even though the Red Sox are out of contention, Ranaudo’s start is worth watching. He may get a job in the rotation next year depending on how his next few starts go which makes him worth watching.

Red Sox Need Another Lefty Pitcher

John Danks lefty pitcher

The trade of Jon Lester opened up a void of veteran leadership and a lefty in the starting rotation. The Red Sox have a kid with a bright future in Henry Owens, but he may need more seasoning next year down in AAA Pawtucket. An intriguing possibility for the Red Sox could be Chicago White Sox lefty John Danks.

Danks is currently 29-years-old and is signed to two more years after this season. The original deal he signed in 2011 was for five years worth a total of $65 million, making $8 million in 2012 and $14.25 per season each year after. The money is hefty, but the years are just where the Sox would like to be without a long-term risk.

Danks has had some health issues having had surgery on August 6, 2012. He came back last year to pitch and kind of reinvented himself under pitching Coach Don Cooper in Chicago to become “crafty”. He still can throw in the low 90’s, and mixes things up with an arsenal of a sharp cutter, a very good straight change, a big slow curve ball and a two- seam fastball; he has gotten stronger since his return.

His best year to date was in 2008, his first full year in the starting rotation, going 12-9 with a 3.32 ERA (fifth in the American League) and 1.23 WHIP in 33 starts. He finished just shy of the coveted 200 innings mark with 195. He pitched a one game playoff that year, defeating the Minnesota Twins 1-0 to clinch the American League Central Division, which was dubbed the “Black Out” game—all fans in Chicago wore black.

The White Sox were rumored to have been having talks with the Yankees at the trade deadline, but in the end nothing materialized. There were some sniffs by other teams, but GM Rick Hahn decided to stand pat as nothing made sense at the time to get better for the short or long-term benefit of the team. Some groundwork was laid for a future deal though with these discussions and if the Red Sox weren’t already in them, they may be in the future.

With the trade deadline passed, waiver deals are the next steps if any teams are looking to still make moves. (A player would have to clear waivers first which is always kind of risky.) The good news is the Red Sox have a worse record than the Yankees, so they would get a chance at him first if they act on him this year. If not, then I would expect them to talk in the off season.

John Danks is not Jon Lester talent wise, but is from Texas and is a grinder who has battled adversity and keeps on fighting.

Should the Red Sox re-sign Jon Lester

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers

Every team is looking for that ace; you know, a pitcher that’s going to give you a quality start once every five games. The question is, should the Red Sox re-sign their ace, Jon Lester?

Some fans have debated if Lester is truly an ace. Yes he has had his good seasons, but is he truly worth the long-term investment?

Lester is 4-6 with a 3.36 ERA in nine games so far this season. He has been the most consistent Red Sox pitcher in 2014, but the team shouldn’t base their decision to keep Lester solely on that.

Lester has been a valuable pitcher for the Red Sox throughout his career. Yes he has pitched in big moments for the team, but if you look at his last two seasons, the future doesn’t look bright.

Lester’s WAR (Wins-Above-Replacement) has decreased in recent seasons. In 2012, his WAR was 0.4 and so far in 2014, his WAR is 1.0. If you look at Lester’s WAR in 2008 and 2009, it was no lower than 5.8.

After the 2009 season, his WAR has been increasingly less ever since. So do the Red Sox give a long-term extension to a pitcher who’s aging and isn’t even that valuable to the team?

Lester will be 31 next season, and you don’t have to think hard to name pitchers who haven’t performed well in their 30s. One slumping and aging pitcher is CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees.

New York signed Sabathia to a seven-year, $161 million contract in 2008. The team also gave him an extension in 2011.  

Sabathia is now 33 and in the midst of a second consecutive bad season. He is currently on the disabled list until at least July with a knee injury. The worst part is the Yankees have him under contract for two more seasons after 2014. 

Maybe the biggest reason the Red Sox can afford to let Lester walk is the young pitchers in the minor league system. They’ve got a stacked rotation in Pawtucket featuring first round picks Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes, hard throwing former Dodgers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, and last year’s World Series set-up man Brandon Workman.

In Portland, they have one of their top prospects in Henry Owens, who almost threw a no-hitter earlier this month. There are also other players deeper in the farm system as well, like last year’s seventh overall pick Trey Ball.

While we don’t know if these pitchers can replicate or surpass the success of Lester, you have to give them an opportunity to see if they can become starters in the majors. Ranaudo, De La Rosa and Webster have all shown they have potential, but they lack the major league experience you get from Lester.

Right now, Lester brings top-of-the-rotation upside, while staying mostly healthy. While Lester’s injury history is short, you never know if a player’s body can hold up once they enter their mid to late 30s.

Boston has a tough decision to make after the 2014 season. Do they left another player walk away, possibly to a rival, much like Jacoby Ellsbury? Or do they spend the money necessary to keep Lester in Beantown? It is a huge gamble no matter what the Red Sox decide to do.