Currently, the Red Sox face the enviable problem of having an excess of quality pitchers. With the season fast approaching, however, one has to wonder when and how the team will address the issue on the trade market. Here's how I see the Sox' pitching shaping up:
- Curt Schilling: Staff ace if healthy; an injury risk but unquestionably a member of the starting rotation.
- Josh Beckett: Long-term ace of the staff; likely to miss some time if troublesome blisters can't be controlled.
- David Wells: Still a very solid lefty SP despite being a fat, cantankerous 42-year-old; no longer wants to be traded to a West Coast team to finish his career.
- Matt Clement: All-Star first half in 2005; terrible second half. Two years remaining on a contract that looks like a relative bargain after this offseason's free agent signings.
- Tim Wakefield: Steady knuckleballer who could pitch until he's 50; has spent time in the pen but is most useful as an inning-eating back-of-the-rotation starter.
- Bronson Arroyo: Recently signed a below-market three-year extension, coupled with an alleged "gentlemen's agreement" not to be traded.
- Jonathan Papelbon: Stud prospect who is definitely major-league ready; throws gas but could stand to add another pitch to his repertoire. Dominant out of the bullpen in 2005.
- Keith Foulke: Fell apart last year, with injuries a factor. Will enter the season as the anticipated closer but who knows what to expect.
- Mike Timlin: Old but very steady. Filled in last year as the closer after Foulke went down.
- Julian Tavarez: Signed as a FA this offseason; he's another steady arm who could close games in a pinch.
- David Riske: Has put up great numbers the past several years, but developed a reputation in Cleveland for being less effective in clutch situations.
- Rudy Seanez: 37-year-old journeyman who has turned in two consecutive career years.
Knocking on the door
- Craig Hansen: Closer of the future; if Foulke doesn't get it down, perhaps the future is now?
- Manny Delcarmen: Hard-throwing and highly touted prospect thought to possess the best curve among Sox minor leaguers. Ready for a spot in the bullpen, if room can be found for him.
- Jermaine Van Buren: Acquired this offseason from the Cubs; has showed promise and definitely has some tools. Probably ready for a major-league bullpen spot, but might spend another year in AAA.
- Lenny DiNardo: He's a lefty, and that alone sets him apart from the rest of the Sox' relievers. Can also start.
- Jon Lester: Fireballing lefty SP prospect who has been labeled untouchable in trades. Boasts four pitches and could be ready to join the rotation in the second half.
What to do?
The pitcher everyone would like to move is Wells, given his trade demand, but so far the Red Sox have been unable to get fair value for him (in part because of their perceived weak bargaining position). Alternatively (or additionally), Matt Clement has been shopped around the league, and would likely fetch a better package in return. Unless both Wells and Clement are traded, or someone else gets hurt, Jonathan Papelbon may be stuck in the bullpen for now. Perhaps that's not such a bad thing, but it makes it that much harder to find room in the 'pen for young guys like Hansen and Delcarmen. So, what does the Red Sox Nation faction of the ArmchairGM community (current population: 1) say?
--NationInChicago 17:48, 30 January 2006 (PST)