Here's my take on the Red Sox pitching staff for 2014. I'm assuming that the team will carry 12 pitchers and I'm also guessing one big name will be traded.
The starting pitching staff has 6 proven starters vying for 5 spots. Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and John Lackey are givens. That leaves Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster and Felix Dubront fighting for the 4th and 5th starter spots. That also leaves an interesting question - do you hang on to all three in case someone goes down in spring training? Or do you trade a Peavy, Dempster or a Dubront to ease the logjam?
Peavy ($14.5 million) and Dempster ($13 million) make too much money to be long relievers. Peavy cost a top prospect to get and he's only going to be 33 this season. My guess is he'd bring the most back in a trade (especially to an NL team). Dempster will be 37 next year but his numbers are just as good as Peavy and probably more durable.
Logic says that just because of salary if the Red Sox trade a starter it should be Peavy or Demspter but I wouldn't be shocked if the Boston front office traded Felix Dubront instead. Felix went 11-6 with a 4.32 ERA last season and is under team control for 4 more seasons. I see his ceiling as a 3rd starter and you know his conditioning and work ethic were in question last spring. Ben Cherington could sell high on Dubront and get back an MLB ready 1st baseman or outfielder in exchange. Boston's farm system is chock full of starters with higher ceilings than Dubront. Keeping Peavy and Demspter for one more season and trading Dubront both eases the logjam and gives those young pitchers another year to develop.
For the seven member bullpen - the Red Sox have the following under contract or team control; Koji Uehara returns as closer, Craig Breslow, Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey, Junichi Tazawa, and Brandon Workman seems to be a John Farrell favorite. That leaves one spot which could easily come from Drake Britton, Rubby de la Rosa and Franklin Morales.
Boston seems to be in very good position of not even having to dip its toe into the free agent pool to put together its 2014 pitching staff. It will be interesting to see if someone gets traded. And who.
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