After the Boston Red Sox traded away four of the five members of their opening day rotation, they’ve had to inject youth into the lineup and pick up the pieces in preparation for the 2015 campaign. Let’s take a look at the options the Red Sox have and the odds for each pitcher in the starting rotation.
Clay Buchholz: The only member of the Opening day rotation left, has had an injury filled, and very disappointing season. Buchholz has seen his seen his ERA rise from 1.74 to a bloated 5.79. What was a 12-1 All-Star campaign last year, has become a 5-7 meltdown. Despite this rough season, he is the one true veteran on this staff, and could still very well find himself as the Opening day starter, because the two time All-Star has a great variety of pitching and has been great in the past. Only thing that could see him out the rotation next year is a trade. Odds of making rotation: 95%
Joe Kelly: Ever since being traded to the Red Sox in the John Lackey deal with St. Louis, Kelly has been solid. With the exception of his disastrous start against the Astros on Sunday, he has been solid against two tough teams in St. Louis and Cincinnati with a combined 2.08 ERA in those games. Kelly is under team control until 2019 so the Red Sox will take a close look at what they have in him throughout this year to see where hit fits in the rotation. Unless he routinely has outings like he did vs. the Astros, he is a virtual lock. Odds of making rotation: 99%
Rubby De La Rosa: Of all the rookie pitchers for the Red Sox, De La Rosa has been the most impressive. He is 4-4 with a 3.79 ERA and even though he had a tough start vs. the Astros as well, he has been lights out at home otherwise and could be a real factor next year. His contract keeps him under control until 2019 and unless the Red Sox go on a spending spree (which is unlikely based on what they have indicated in the past) he should be in this rotation. Odds of making rotation: 85%
Allen Webster: While Webster might have the best “stuff” of all the young pitchers, in his outings this year, he has been very inconsistent and struggled with walks. Despite having six more walks than strikeouts, he has a 3-1 record and he seems to be settling in. Nevertheless, he is prone to meltdowns on the mound, and could unravel to a point where the only option is to send him to Pawtucket. Also hurting his chances are what the Red Sox could do in free agency, and his name being included in a blockbuster trade this winter. Odds of making rotation: 55%
Brandon Workman: Workman has been a big part of the rotation this year in replacement of Buchholz and Felix Doubront when they were hurt and pitched very well up until his suspension as a result of the Red Sox-Rays fiasco earlier this year. Pre-suspension he had a 3.49 ERA and was 1-0. Since then, he has a 5.24 ERA and a 0-6 record. Manager John Farrell speculated that it may be fatigue, as this is the most Workman has pitched in his young career. Workman has shown poise in the bullpen, and was called on in the World Series, and pitched 3.1 innings and allowed just three hits and no runs. He could turn around his season, he could be passed by Anthony Ranaudo, or he could be pushed into the bullpen. His odds are definitely in question. Odds of making rotation: 35%
Anthony Ranaudo: The young Red Sox prospect has been called on in two games this year and picked up wins in both, including getting his first career strikeout against Derek Jeter. He is a tall (6’ 7”) and powerful pitcher who attacks the strike zone. He has more upside then someone like Brandon Workman, but could still use time to develop. If the Red Sox decide to move Workman to the bullpen, he could see his odds rise. Keep in mind, the Red Sox will look to potentially re-sign Jon Lester or target other free agents. His time will come, but the chances look low as well. Odds of making rotation: 25%
Free Agents: In order for the Red Sox to compete in 2015, they need to add dependable veterans. Priority number one is to re-sign Jon Lester, who they traded to the Oakland Athletics. If they can’t sign him, they could look to big name targets like James Shields or Max Scherzer. They could also add some lesser names, like former Red Sox prospect Justin Masterson, Josh Beckett (also a former Red Sox) or Brandon McCarthy. Odds of at least one making rotation: 75%
Predictions for starting rotation:
Opening Day Starter: Clay Buchholz
Other Four Starters: Joe Kelly, Rubby De La Rosa, Justin Masterson, Allen Webster
Tune in for my next article where I will preview what the bullpen could look like for the Red Sox in 2015.
[Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]