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2012 Red Sox Pitching Options – Rebuilding After September’s Collapse

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Job one for Ben Cherington or whoever replaces Theo Epstein as Red Sox GM is to get the pitching staff in shape for next season.

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey all stunk in September (actually, Lackey stunk all season).

The Tim Wakefield Era is probably over.

The Andrew Miller experiment – while a worthy attempt – doesn’t look like it will pay off.

And Erik Bedard – thankfully – is probably just passing through and will be elsewhere in 2012.

Jonathan Papelbon (free agency) and Daniel Bard (another last season collapser) create questions in the bullpen.

Fortunately, we had Alex Speier walk through the Red Sox pitching options.

Speier first reviews the 2011 numbers – Boston’s starters had a 4.49 ERA (#22 in MLB); 71 quality starts (#28 in MLB); 940 innings pitched (#25 in MLB); and more.

Not a pretty picture.

So what are the answers? A look at a few options Speier discusses:

  • CC Sabathia. I love him. But at age 31 and probably wanting 6 or 7 years, let’s pass.
  • C.J. Wilson. Pursue if the price is in the Beckett/Lackey deal range. Pass if the price tag is $100 million (as reported).
  • Yu Darvish. Never seen him – so tough to weigh in. But at this point – not sure I’d dip into the Japan market after how the last great pitcher from there (Daisuke Matsuzaka – who shouldn’t counted on for anything in 2012) worked out.
  • Alfredo Aceves. Keep him in the bullpen – where he was invaluable.
  • Daniel Bard. I like the power arm in the rotation – but that’s a tough transition (bullpen to starter) to make in the majors. But Gordon Edes thinks Bard can make the move.
  • Papelbon. All depends where the Papelbon market is – if it’s $12 million/3 years – yes, do it. If it is more money or years, check out Heath Bell (who will probably be a big Texas target with Neftali Feliz moving to the rotation).
  • Gavin Floyd/John Danks. I would zero in on one of these guys as a Lackey replacement. They are not front-line starters but can be good middle of the rotation pitchers.

As the Hot Stove heats up – let’s keep an eye how the Red Sox can improve the pitching staff.

What are your suggestions for trade and free agent moves?

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