With baseball's winter meetings poised to begin in Dallas on Monday, the rumor mill is already heating up.
Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald is reporting that the Boston Red Sox have scheduled a meeting with agent Bob Garber. Garber is the agent who represents both C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt. Oswalt and Wilson are two of the highest profile free agent pitchers on the market this winter.
The Red Sox promise to be among the most active of teams in the coming weeks. The recent hiring of Bobby Valentine as manager brings a final completion of the restructuring of the general manager and managerial position.
With those positions filled, the Red Sox can begin the process of trying to find answers for the numerous questions raised both by the poor play last September and the spate of rumors involving clubhouse discord and apathy that emerged in the aftermath of the team's collapse. Add to that the departure of veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon and an injury to John Lackey that will require him to miss the entire 2012 season, and the Red Sox have plenty of work laid out in front of them.
Oswalt and Wilson would both be high-profile and high-cost solutions to the pitching problems that plagued the Red Sox down the stretch in 2011, as well as throughout parts of the 2010 and 2009 seasons.
The Red Sox starting rotation has been a mysterious mix of both talent and inconsistency over the past few seasons. Talented pitchers such as John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka seem to under perform. Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz have problems staying consistently healthy and even Jon Lester was rumored to be fatigued down the stretch last season.
Under former GM Theo Epstein, high-profile, big-ticket free agents were rarely the answer to when it came to problems on the Red Sox. Bringing either of these pitchers would elicit an avalanche of well-deserved skepticism.
Oswalt has had a very good career, but he's never pitched in the American League. His health has been an issue the past few seasons and his walks and hits allowed were both higher than his career averages last season.
Wilson would bring a different set of questions with him to Boston. While his numbers as a starting pitcher have been quite good, his overall body of work is only two seasons. He's had difficulty pitching in the postseason and pitching in the American League West means he gets to face some of the American League's weakest offenses frequently. Whether Wilson is good or not, there's no question at all that New York, Toronto and Baltimore are tougher teams to face off against with regularity than Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle are.
There's almost no question that the Red Sox will have some new faces in the starting rotation next year. Oswalt or Wilson would both represent high-profile and high-cost solutions. On the plus side, both pitchers are free agents, which means that signing them will not require the Red Sox to part with any of their promising young players.
The Winter Meetings don't start for another two days, but the Red Sox are already showing a willingness to wheel and deal.
It should be an interesting week.