Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The Red Sox look to have much more pitching depth in 2013 than they had last season.
All teams have players who enter spring training without any question regarding their spot on the roster.
The Red Sox have a high number of these players who can rest assured that, outside of injury, they will be traveling north to Boston when the regular season starts.
Let’s start with the pitchers who are assured of a roster spot.
Andrew Bailey, Relief Pitcher: He was injured for much of last season and lost the closer role upon his return, appearing in just 19 games and posting a 7.04 ERA. However, he has made public assurances that he is fine being the setup man this season to new closer Joel Hanrahan.
Craig Breslow, Relief Pitcher: The durable lefty came to Boston in a mid-season trade last year. He has averaged 70 appearances over the past four seasons, prompting the Red Sox to sign him to a two-year contract this offseason.
Clay Buchholz, Starting Pitcher: He has experienced a variety of injuries and fluctuating production during his career before becoming Boston’s most consistent starter over the second half of last season, posting a 3.76 ERA. As long as a recent hamstring injury doesn’t prove to be serious, he will be counted on to be a major piece of the 2013 rotation.
Ryan Dempster, Starting Pitcher: Signed to a two-year free-agent contract this offseason, Boston fans hope that his 5.09 ERA during a 12-start stint with the Texas Rangers last season, his first career AL action, isn’t a sign of things to come.
Felix Doubront, Starting Pitcher: The left-hander was a revelation last season, winning 11 games and striking out 167 before tiring down the stretch. Just 25, the Red Sox will look to him to make another jump in his development in 2013.
Joel Hanrahan, Relief Pitcher: He was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates this past offseason to be Boston’s new closer. It will be considered a great move if he is closer to the pitcher who posted a 1.83 ERA in 2011, rather than the one who gave up eight home runs and 36 walks in 59.2 innings last year.
John Lackey, Starting Pitcher: After disappointing production during his first two years in Boston and missing all of last season, he will look to revive his career in the back of the rotation. He has already started off well by reporting to camp in great shape.
Jon Lester, Starting Pitcher: With a 9-14 record and 4.82 ERA in 2012, the left-hander suffered the most disappointing season of his career. Regardless, he will be looked to as the team’s ace once again this year.
Andrew Miller, Relief Pitcher: Although he is a former top starting pitching prospect, the Red Sox found that he was best suited for relief after two years of trial and error. The team hopes that his career-best 3.35 ERA and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 53 games last season are signs of even better things to come.
Koji Uehara, Relief Pitcher: The 38-year-old Japanese right-hander was signed to a free-agent contract this offseason. FanGraphs.com’s Jack Moore wrote that Uehara has special control, which will come in handy in the Boston bullpen.