The Boston Red Sox are in search of pitching.
According to MLB Network's Peter Gammons, they've sent scouts far and wide to look at most of the top pitchers available:
Red Sox have scouts most everywhere:Norris last night, Gallardo, Volquez, Peavy and ? Today— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 25, 2013
And according to an interview with Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, per WEEI.com, they're also looking "pretty hard" at Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
Part of what makes Gonzalez so appealing is that he would only cost money—in the neighborhood of $60 million over five years, by some estimations—and the team would not have to give up anything in terms of prospects.
With so many players on the Red Sox radar, it's time to sit down and do this the old-fashioned way. What are the pros and cons of the Red Sox acquiring each player?
Pros: Norris is a decent pitcher on a bad team. He still has three years of arbitration eligibility, although he's due to get a raise from his current $3 million contract this year.
Carrying a 3.93 ERA, Norris has had success this year and would fit well with any team in a pennant race.
Cons: With Norris still having three years of control left, the Astros aren't going to give him up for a cheap price. As they continue to rebuild, they'll only let Norris go if the price is right. Otherwise, expect him to stay in Houston and help the franchise turn things around.
Pros: Gallardo is a big-time strikeout pitcher in the right circumstances. He has a reasonable $24.25 million left on his contract over the next two years and had four-straight 200-strikeout seasons between 2009-12.
Cons: Gallardo is having the worst season of his career. His ERA is sitting at 4.58 and he has a record of 8-8. Even so, he's the ace of the Brewers and they're going to expect a decent return for him. Even more, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Brewers have a high asking price for any of their players.
"One of the problems with dealing with Milwaukee," said an AL exec, "is that [their] trade for Segura last year was so one-sided that they want another tilted deal. Not going to happen."
If Gallardo is their guy, then the Red Sox would have to pony up some decent prospects to pry him away from Milwaukee.
Pros: The Padres seem to not be going anywhere this year and Volquez isn't having that great of a season with a 5.73 ERA and 1.596 WHIP. The cost in prospects would be the lowest of all those on other teams. He's also a free agent at the end of the year, so if things didn't work out, there would be nothing tying the Red Sox to Volquez in 2014.
Cons: As mentioned above, Volquez has a 5.73 ERA, including a 5.79 ERA at Petco Park, which is a pitching-friendly park. What's going to happen when he gets into a hitter's ballpark like Fenway?
Pros: Peavy seems to be the top pitcher left on the trading block. If the Red Sox could trade for him, they would get someone that could easily replace Clay Buchholz, if Buchholz struggles to come back from injury.
Cons: Peavy has one year and $14.5 million left on his contract. Not to mention his $15 million player option kicks in if he can amass 400 innings between this year and next. The biggest strike against Peavy to the Red Sox is that he's 0-2 with a 12.10 ERA in two postseason starts. While it's only two starts, it's also not good to see that he doesn't have much postseason experience.
Which pitcher would be a better fit for Boston?
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
Pros: The Red Sox won't have to give up any prospects to sign Gonzalez. With the trading deadline fast approaching, and multiple teams looking for starting pitching, the price is going to be driven up on those players. Gonzalez can come in and immediately help the Red Sox, if they deem that to be necessary.
Even if the Red Sox get into a bidding war for Gonzalez, they're one of the few teams that can keep up, unlike others who will have a budget.
Cons: The one difference with Gonzalez is that you still don't know what you're getting with him. While he had a lot of success in Cuba, MLB baseball is a lot different. Can he come in and immediately make an impact down the stretch?
Lastly, where does he fit in exactly, considering he's only pitched six innings of competitive baseball in 2013? Is that really enough to be ready down the stretch run?