After a hectic day of trades on Deadline Thursday, Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington announced he wasn’t done retooling his roster.
There’s a pitching staff to put together.
Only Clay Buchholz remains from the six starters Boston had before spring training.
Cherington’s focus Thursday was obviously hitters, acquiring Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig.
“Clearly offense has been an issue,” Cherington said. “That was going to have to improve.”
Looking at potential free-agent sluggers after this season … “There just isn’t a lot,” Cherington said.
What Cherington is counting on is having a number of arms available.
All year you have been hearing about the extreme pitching depth in the Red Sox minor leagues; a lot of good, young pitchers.
But also inexperienced.
“We like our younger starters,” Cherington said. “We feel good about depth of pitching but obviously it’s not proven major league pitching.”
So which proven pitchers might the Red Sox go after?
There’s a foursome of former Sea Dogs that will be available.
But how doubtful is it that Boston would invite Josh Beckett back? He’s 34 and didn’t seem to relish his final years in Boston.
Then there’s Jorge De La Rosa (hey, he was an Eastern League All-Star in 2003). He’s 33 and has a 4.20 ERA with Colorado.
Justin Masterson may be the nicest man alive. But Masterson, 29, saw his ERA balloon to 5.49 with Cleveland this season.
That brings us to Jon Lester.
There’s all kind of hope the Red Sox can entice Lester back after a little fun in Oakland.
The A’s obviously aren’t going to give him big free-agent money. But who says Boston will change its mind about Lester and sign him long-term?
Speaking of big money. Max Scherzer of Detroit turned down a six-year, $144 million deal to re-sign. What will it take to get him?
James Shields, 32, is intriguing. He’s a workhorse and is 3-2 with Kansas City with a 3.50 ERA. He’s proven and a veteran. It will depend on the price.
There’s also the trade route. The Phillies may dangle Cole Hamels again, asking for a boatload of players.
How many more pitchers will Boston need? The Red Sox traded Lackey for Joe Kelly – “someone who can quickly develop into a core part of our rotation,” Cherington said. And they are crossing fingers with Buchholz returning to form.
Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Brandon Workman and Steven Wright remain options, and Anthony Ranaudo threw his name in the mix after Friday night’s major league debut against the Yankees (six innings, four hits, two runs).
Matt Barnes and Henry Owens aren’t yet on the 40-man roster. They will be soon.
Some will compete for roster spots. Others could go to the bullpen (Workman? Barnes?).
ONE PITCHER ON the 40-man roster who hasn’t been heard from is left-hander Drake Britton. Last season was his breakout year; he landed in the Red Sox bullpen (3.86 ERA in 18 appearances), although not on the postseason roster.
This year, Britton has been bypassed when it comes to call-ups as he struggles in Triple-A Pawtucket. He gave up two home runs in 21/3 innings Friday, upping his ERA to 5.52.
BRYCE BRENTZ was hoped to be a power-hitting outfielder the Red Sox want so much, but he’s been hampered most of the season with hamstring problems. He’s on a rehab assignment, trying to get his timing back. He was 1 for 18 with the Gulf Coast League and was 1 for 8 in Lowell through Friday.
CAN YOU GUESS the top home run hitters in the Boston organization? Of course, David Ortiz is one of them. Through Friday he had 20 home runs.
But he’s tied for first. Last week Travis Shaw hit his 20th home run (nine for Pawtucket after hitting 11 for the Sea Dogs). Shaw, 24, likely will be added for the 40-man roster after the season.