The Boston Red Sox need help in their starting pitching rotation. Help is reportedly on the way.
The Sox are in “serious discussions” with right-hander Ryan Dempster, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter):
Source: #RedSox, Dempster in serious discussions. No deal yet; still possible he could sign elsewhere.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2012
But Dempster, who turns 36 years old in May, is not a long-term solution for Boston.
Several other possible options are still out there on the open market. Red Sox Insider Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reported that sources said the Sox are set on a group of those available names. He mentioned Dempster, Kyle Lohse, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum and Anibal Sanchez as the focus of the Sox’s offseason efforts.
Of that group, let’s take a look at three of the best options for Boston.
Ryan Dempster, RHP
Dempster is primarily regarded as a “National League” pitcher and it was made known during the Winter meetings that he prefers to stay in that league, according to McAdam. He also already turned down a two-year, $25 million offer to sign with the Sox.
On the negative side, Dempter’s ERA shot up after being dealt to the Texas Rangers from the Chicago Cubs last season. He went 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA in Chicago and then 7-3 with a 5.09 ERA in Texas.
Also, his price tag will be very steep if the Sox hope to persuade him to come back to the American League. He already turned down a very favorable deal for more years as mentioned. Is the risk worth the reward in that sense?
Alternately, the Red Sox are in definite need of adding an experienced and proven arm to its rotation. Dempster is both of those things.
What you see is what you get with him. Ultimately, it all depends on how much the Red Sox value what they’re looking at and how badly they want to fill the opening spot in their rotation.
Anibal Sanchez, RHP
If money is a problem, Sanchez may be too rich for the Red Sox’s blood. The right-hander is reportedly seeking a deal in the range of six-years, $90 million, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
Sanchez didn’t have the best season. He began the year with the Miami Marlins and recorded a 3.94 ERA and 5-7 record in 19 starts. He logged 12 starts and posted a 4-6 record with a 3.74 ERA after being traded to the Detroit Tigers.
The postseason is when he shined, though. He went 1-2 with a 1.77 ERA. Detroit was held scoreless in both Game 3 of the ALDS and Game 3 of the World Series, the two games he lost.
With Zack Greinke no longer available, Sanchez is the most attractive option left, although he will commandeer the biggest pay day of the bunch.
Kyle Lohse, RHP
Kyle Lohse is expected to be seeking more than a three-year contract, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. But, the Sox have shown they aren’t willing to jump into multi-year contracts this offseason.
Edes said the Sox would “jump in” on Lohse if he would accept a three-year contract.
Would Lohse, 32, be worth locking up for the long term if not? If the team isn’t willing to take the gamble with Sanchez, it’s hard to imagine it would splurge on Lohse.
The right-hander is coming off of easily his best season as a pro but hasn’t demonstrated sustained success. For every good season he would have, injuries and inconsistency would come back to slow him down.
Still, there is something to be said for a pitcher who wins 30 games in two seasons. It could be that he has finally hit his stride and could be worth the long-term gamble for the Sox.
It’s a big risk, though. One that Boston can’t afford to get losing end of.