Free Agency is dwindling down and the Red Sox still have some holes to fill up, specifically their starting pitching. Usually the Sox would boast about the depth they have in their rotation and as of right now, the Sox have two and a half pitchers that are definites in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz. John Lackey and Dice-K both have bum elbows and will not be a part of the 2012 season, which is a gift and a curse all in one.
The Sox still need some starters and have some plans set on fixing that: Daniel Bard converting to a starter, which can either go good like it did for Derek Lowe or management will realize that he's more valuable in the bullpen like Jonathan Papelbon. Alfredo Aceves is another option that is being considered but he's taken over Tim Wakefield's spot as the utility pitcher since he can pitch effectively in any situation they put him in. Carlos Silva was picked up and if he makes the team, will be paid a mere $1 million. The Sox surely aren't finished with bolstering their depth so here's some names that the Sox have been linked to and some that they should be considering.
2011 Stats (w/Phillies): 9-10, 3.69 ERA, 93 K, 33 BB in 139 IP
He's the best pitcher still available on the market, the one that I've been hoping would sign here since October, and despite having some nagging injuries, was still pitching well. He's already said he would gladly take a one year deal to prove that he's still got it (and get a bigger contract next year) but that just made his market double. Who wouldn't take a one year flyer on a pitcher of his caliber? It hasn't worked effectively as no team has been linked to him.
This actually works in favor of the Sox as he would take even less money to sign with someone. If he's willing to accept a one year deal for anything in the $6-$8 million range then the Sox could splurge as they would be getting pretty good value while not being locked into another big contract. For those worried that the league switch would affect him, he's 11-11 with a 3.70 ERA in 30 career starts vs the AL. Not too shabby for someone who would be your 3rd or 4th starter.
Odds Sox sign him: 15-to-1 but improving as each day passes.
Pitchers who almost joined team in July
2011 Stats (w/ Dodgers) 13-16, 3.07 ERA, 161 K, 49 BB in 202 IP
Depending on which reports you read, Kuroda would waive his no trade clause to come to Boston and then at the last minute decided to enjoy the warm weather in LA. The change from the NL West in the AL East is like being called up from AAA. He's only pitched two games against the AL East, one vs the Sox and the other vs the Yankees, and the line is Lackey-esque: 5 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K's. He'll also be 37 in February and will be looking for something like $12-$13 million a year. Thanks, but no thanks.
2011 Stats (w/ A's) 4-4, 5.12 ERA, 91 K, 31 BB in 82 2/3 IP
Harden was THIS close from being a member of the Red Sox.
But then the team doctors took a look at him. You know the rest.
At one point, he was one of the best young guns in baseball. He still can strike batters out (9.2 K/9 last season, which is also his career average) but he hasn't been able to pitch in more than 20 games in each of the last two seasons. He's also been giving up home runs at an alarming rate: 35 home runs in 174 2/3 innings (!!!). For comparison's sake: in his first five seasons with the A's, he gave up 36 home runs (464 2/3 innings).
He's definitely one of the low risk, high reward guys. But we already have a couple of the "if he's healthy, he's pretty damn good" guys in Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett.. does this team need another one of those?
The "Who the hell is this guy?!" Candidate
2011 Stats (w/Pirates): 6-14, 3.66 ERA, 97 K, 50 BB in 162 1/3 IP
For those that don't know who Paul Maholm is, he's played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for his entire career (September call up in 2005, full time starter from 2006 onward). Last season he was a perfect example of the Pirates season: he performed well in the first half of the year (6-9, 2.96 ERA, with batters hitting .238 off of him) and then completely implode and revert back to their old form (0-5, 5.75 ERA, batters hitting .355 off of him). He went on the DL for the first time in his career in September but he's 29 and could command a 3 year deal in the range of $12-$18 million deal.
The market has yet to develop for him but it's looking doubtful that he'll re-sign with Pittsburgh. If we are to believe that the Sox aren't trying to spend money then he's off their radar but if the Sox are willing to take a risk and think they can tinker him a bit (The folks over at 60 feet, 6 inches aren't too fond of Maholm.) then they could get some value over him.
The "I Can't Believe He's Being Considered" Candidate:
2011 Stats (w/Yankees): 8-10, 4.00 ERA, 135 K, 40 BB in 164 1/3 IP
I can't believe this either. For all the crap that we gave the Yankees for signing him much less putting him in the rotation. Not only did he not suck, he was actually a decent option for the back of the rotation. From April to July, he was their 3rd best pitcher behind ace CC Sabathia and rookie wunderkind Ivan Nova. He's exactly what the Sox are hoping for with Carlos Silva.
He's looking for a two year deal which is laughable considering he's 38, but the guys over at MLB Trade Rumors predicted that he would land in Boston:
27. Bartolo Colon - Red Sox. Colon had an excellent comeback season, but he will still have a hard time finding a two-year deal. Perhaps he could take an incentive-based contract and remain in the AL East with the Red Sox.
There is a sick and twisted part of me that want the Sox to sign him. How ironic would it be that we sign Colon after we tried to blackball all the pitchers involved in the Chicken & Beer fiasco? Lest we forget that there were fans ready to riot in front of 1 Yawkey Way, wanting to burn Beckett alive over him getting out of shape. But if the Sox can get him on a contract like the one above... it's a deal that you convince yourself to like after a couple hours and a few beers.