The Boston Red Sox still have a couple of voids to fill this season, no one more blaring than the empty spot in the starting rotation.
Boston has Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey in the rotation and plans to have Franklin Morales pitch in spring training as a starting pitcher as well, according to Maureen Mullen of Comcast SportsNet New England:
New manager John Farrell said lefthander Franklin Morales will come into spring training being stretched out as a starter. The idea there being that it’s easier for a pitcher to convert to the bullpen after being stretched out, as opposed to the reverse.
Even if Morales is stretched out into a starter, the five pitchers still aren’t much better than Boston’s 2012 rotation, which was one of the worst in baseball. Boston starting pitchers had the fourth-worst ERA in baseball last season and the sixth-fewest wins.
One of the options that Boston has to bolster its rotation is to acquire New York Mets starter and reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, in whom Adam Rubin and Joe McDonald of ESPN report the Red Sox have interest:
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and [New York Mets general manager Sandy] Alderson met Monday afternoon, with New York looking for outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and shortstop Xander Bogaerts in exchange for the Cy Young Award winner, the source said.
There’s no doubt that Dickey had an incredible campaign in 2012, winning 20 games and posting a 2.73 ERA in a league-leading 233.2 innings. He also led the league with 230 strikeouts. One of the issues with acquiring him, though, is that he’s 38 years old and is only under contract for the 2013 season—eligible to become a free agent thereafter.
The biggest issue is that the Red Sox would have to be crazy in order to give up their top two prospects in order for anywhere from one to three years of Dickey—assuming he doesn’t pitch past 40 years old.
Between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland last season, Bogaerts hit .307/.373/.523 with 20 home runs, 81 RBI and 71 runs scored. Following the same path in 2012, Bradley Jr. hit .315/.430/.482 with nine home runs, 63 RBI and 90 runs scored. Both have emerged as players who could make impacts in the major leagues as early as the end of 2013.
Both Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. will be under contract for six years after they reach the majors. As mentioned, there’s only a guarantee that Dickey would be in Boston for a couple of years at most.
Keith Law of ESPN doesn’t think that Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. for Dickey makes a lot of sense for Boston, either:
The Red Sox are trying to improve their team, which is completely fine, but trading two top prospects for an aged knuckleballer is not the way to do it. Boston has plenty of money that it could spend on a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher instead.
Making trades that only help in the short term and not in the long term is something that Boston should refrain from doing.
The proposed Dickey deal would be one of those moves.