Trades: Starting pitching a possibility

Even with Curt Schilling currently on the DL, the Red Sox starters are a combined 47-30 with a 4.21 ERA, good for 6th in the American League. They’ve pitched the 3rd most innings of any starting staff, and thrown three complete games. They currently lead all AL rotations in strikeouts with 444. And that’s without any contributions from Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and other guys yet. We’ve got plenty of starting pitching, so why would we go get another starter?

If you’re talking a back-of-the-rotation guy, the Sox have no interest. But what about someone like Dontrelle Willis? Would that interest you, Red Sox Nation? The Red Sox brass have stockpiled young power arms not only to bring them up in our system, but also to ship them off to other teams for young but established veterans (a la Josh Beckett). Willis would greatly improve our rotation, and Julian Tavarez could go to the bullpen to give us some more stability there and insurance against Mike Timlin breaking down again.

Remember that there are only five rotation spots, and by my count, three are pretty much set in stone for 2008: Beckett, Matsuzaka and Wakefield. The names Schilling, Lester and Buchholz could be penciled in for those other two spots, so what happens to Kason Gabbard, Devern Hansack, David Pauley, Michael Bowden and Daniel Bard? A little historical study I did earlier showed that even among top 100 prospects, the chances of getting a better than average player or better are only about 23%. So packaging a couple of these guys for a star is a very good deal, if you can get it.

The nice thing is, with a pretty good farm system and an 8 game lead, the Red Sox have the luxury of being conservative at the trade deadline. We could go with minor tweaks and be just fine, or we could gamble with a blockbuster for a Dontrelle Willis or a Mark Teixeira to try and make our team better this year and in the near future. Theo and his team are very persistent at seeking out trade possibilities, so don’t be surprised either way.

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