Apparently Ben Cherington reads this blog.
At the end of yesterday’s post, I challenged Ben by saying it was “your move.”
He took the challenge. And then some.
Where there was none, now there are many. At the beginning of the day on Wednesday, the Sox rotation had two members. Now there are five. Not bad at all.
Are they the five that everyone would have wanted? I doubt it. But, they’re now a rotation.
Individually, they’re nothing to jump up and down about. But as a group, it starts to get interesting. There have been some twitter complaints that the Sox just filled their rotation with #3 starters. Maybe, maybe not. Porcello is probably closer to a #2, but that’s up for conversation. Assuming the Sox are done, the question comes as to whether that’s enough.
First, the Sox aren’t done. They have too many repetitive parts. Too many prospects are blocked behind immovable vets. The almost need to make a move just to clear some space. So, it’d probably be for a pitcher.
But, assuming for this post that they’re done…it might just be enough.
We remember Ben’s previous comments about the need for a staff ace. I’ve even covered the topic before. The basic theory? You don’t necessarily need an “ace.” After all, the Sox have had an ace before. They tried winning with an ace so good he makes that Kershaw guy look like an A-ball bust. When Pedro was having the best pitching stretch in…well…ever the Sox made the playoffs once, and only reached the ALCS. Clearly going with an ace and four scrubs is not the way to go. Maybe the balance makes the rotation. As I discussed previously, maybe being able to beat up on everyone else’s #5 starters is a good way to go. If Buchholz is the Sox “ace” he’ll probably lose a lot of his starts. But, Porcello matches up pretty well with other #2’s. Kelly can hold his own against other #3’s. Miley against other #4’s? I like those odds. And, I’ll take Masterson against other #5’s. It’s sort of the reverse rotation. Instead of winning games because Pedro can beat any other ace, but the #5 guy gets mopped about, the Sox could win the games started by Masterson as their “ace” struggles. And, that’s even assuming Buchholz and Masterson don’t return to all-star form after some injury trouble. If you get a quality start every outing from every member of the rotation, that’s a great way to have a rotation.
Isn’t that sort of what the Orioles and Royals did last year? Sure, the Royals had James Shields. But, the rest of them were pretty bleh. Just solid enough to get the game to the bullpen. Is this current rotation good enough to do that? Can they keep it to four runs in six innings, and let the bullpen and the offense take it from there?
They just might be able to.
Now, if the Sox do go out and get an ace, I certainly wouldn’t say “no.” A great pitcher at the top would only make everything better.
It just might not actually be necessary.