Many are saying that the Red Sox need to sign or trade for an ace pitcher to anchor the rotation, but do they really? The Red Sox have a decent rotation as it stands with 5 number three starters(Porcello, Miley, Masterson, Kelly, Bucholtz). However both Porcello and Bucholtz are free agents after the season. Porcello is a candidate to be resigned but if Clay doesn't have a good year, he is most likely gone. So they need an ace now right? No. Not in my opinion. Let's crunch some numbers.
As of right now, the Red Sox are already over the luxury tax cap. If they were to sign a Max Scherzer or a James Shields, this would blow them past for this year and maybe next year too. Plus, James Shields is a bit overrated in my book. Over the last three years, Shields averages a 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 227.1, an opponent BA of .249, 200 strikeouts, 57 walks, and an average record of 14 wins and 9 losses. Not to mention he gets demolished in the playoffs. The innings, ERA, strikeouts, and walks are all pretty good but the opponent BA and age is a factor. Opponents are getting a hit almost every 4 at bats against Shields. Shields is 33 and is seeking a contract of 5 years $110M. Which would be a huge hit to the Boston payroll.
Scherzer is an interesting case. He has great numbers over the last three years with an average of a 3.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 207.1 Innings Pitched, .229 Opponent BA, 241 K’s, 60 Walks, and an average record of 19 wins and 5 losses. However, with him seeking over $200M over at least 7 years, it is the same case like Shields, big hit to the pay roll. He will also prevent young rising stars from a roster spot in the future like Henry Owens, Matt Barns, Joe Kelly, and Rick Porcello.
Now we move to the most talked about pitcher with the Red Sox, Cole Hamels. Personally, the Red Sox will give up too much for Hamels. Betts, Swihart, and another prospect would have to be traded for Hamels. Although Hamels has been above average in the past three years posting averages of 3.04 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 205 K’s, 54 Walks, 213 Innings Pitched, and an opponent BA of .239. He averages a record of 11 wins and 10 losses due to the badness of the Phillies. He is above average but the Sox will give up too much.
Let’s look at 2 of the free agent starting pitchers for the next off season. Jordan Zimmermann is a better pitcher than he is given credit for. He has averages of a 2.95 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 165 K’s, 37 walks, 202.1 Innings, and a .246 opponent BA while averaging a record of 15 and 7. For a starting pitcher, his walks are very low. You need little walks when you pitch in a hitter's ballpark like Fenway. The Red Sox should hope and pray that he doesn't get re signed by the Nats so they can make a big push for him either at the trade deadline or at free agency next year.
Johnny Cueto is another big name pitcher out there next off season. Cueto, although his stats are somewhat impaired because of his injury last year, would probably be the best over the last three years. Let’s just look at last year because of the injury. He had a record of 20-9. A 2.25 ERA with 243.2 IP, and 242 K’s. He also had a WHIP of .96 and a Opponent BA of .194. This is outstanding for a hitter's ballpark in Cincinnati. If he is not re-signed, look for the Sox to make a big push for him.
The Red Sox should make a move for an ace, but not quite yet. I say they should wait one more season. NOTE: These opinions are my educated opinions, and do not represent my employer or any other member of MLB_NL_AL
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Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.