The last-to-first-to-last-again Boston Red Sox have completed yet another overhaul, importingHanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, as well as expecting full seasons from Rusney Castillo andMookie Betts, to reinforce an offense that sputtered to a 27th-overall wRC+ finish in 2014. But that’s nothing compared to the changes in the rotation, in which six of the nine pitchers who started at least 10 games last year are gone.
In place of Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy,Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Felix Doubront, the Sox head into 2015 with a rotation fronted by Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson, as well as holdovers Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz. For a team that entered the offseason simply needing to find enough arms to field a team for the season, it’s an interesting collection of potentially useful arms.
That said, the idea of “Rick Porcello, Opening Day starter” isn’t exactly going to sell tickets, and that’s the main criticism leveled at Boston this winter: “Where’s the ace?!” Having whiffed on the chance to bring Lester back and so far unable to satisfy Philadelphia’s demands for Cole Hamels, the Red Sox don’t appear to have the guy needed to make a postseason run. Maybe they don’t, but maybe they don’t need to. Here’s why the Red Sox are just fine the way they are — for now, at least. Read the rest of this entry »