Whether John Farrell knows it or not, David Price is clearly the Opening Day starter when Boston takes on the Cleveland Indians on April 4. But after Price, there is a tremendous drop-off from the ace to the number 2. If you remember the last 3 times we won the World Series, we've had great 1-2 punches in the rotation (Schilling-Pedro, Beckett-Schilling, Lester-Lackey), but this rotation doesn't have that kind of fire power that you can the ball to in an elimination game and expect to win. So with that being said, there are a few potential trade candidates for the Sox to help close the gap between the 1 and the number 2.
(Rob Foldy, Getty Images/North America)
Jose Fernandez was briefly linked to the Red Sox this offseason, but asking prices from various analysts across the game were varied. One would think the Sox would have to give up both Moncada and Espinoza while others thought one or the other in a package could get the deal done. But by dealing for a guy like Fernandez, you'd have to give up youth but you'd be acquiring a lights out, young pitcher that immediately makes a positive impact on the rotation.
The only red flag of the young righty's career is that he's already had to deal with Tommy John Surgery. So there's always the risk that he will require an innings limit to try to keep his arm intact for the regular season and a potential playoff run. But, it's worth the risk in my opinion.
What would it take to get it done?
Marlins Receive: Blake Swihart, Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Runsey Castillo, cash considerations
Red Sox Receive: Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna
Obviously, in order to get a guy of Fernandez' caliber, it's going to cost you quite a bit. Just like it did to acquire Craig Kimbrel. But notice one thing, all four guys leaving have big league experience, so you're not effecting the farm system of guys like Espinoza, Benintendi, Moncada, even Owens. You're getting rid of the burden that Rusney Castillo is causing and you're bringing in a young outfielder with upside that you can start in AAA to get Holt playing time in left. But the big piece of the deal is Jose Fernandez, who will slide in at the number 2 starter behind Price and we then get that 1-2 punch that has won us titles in the past.
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Let's face it, the Chicago White Sox are a total mess. With the acquisition of Todd Frazier this offseason, it seemed as though the White Sox would have one of the most feared lineups in the game with Eaton, Cabrera, Abreu, Frazier, and LaRoche. However, LaRoche retired after the White Sox told him that his kid couldn't be around the clubhouse, walking away from $13 million.
In the aftermath of this whole ordeal, Chris Sale supposedly had a closed-door rant to GM Kenny Williams about how it's BS to not allow Adam LaRoche's kid to be around the team. This verbal altercation between the ChiSox Ace and the GM seems like it could turn into bad blood between the two, and could make the young lefty expendable. So if I'm Dealer Dave, I'm giving my former division rival a call to ask on the availability of Sale.
Believe it or not, Sale might not demand as much as Fernandez.
White Sox Receive: Clay Buchholz, Blake Swihart, JBJ and Matt Barnes
Red Sox Receive: Chris Sale
A lot of GMs like to make deals just to get rid of a guy that has attitude. I haven't heard anything on Sale being a total dink in the past, but who knows what Kenny Williams has endured. Just remember, we traded Jorge De La Rosa, Casey Fossum, and Brandon Lyon for Curt Schilling. The only thing I wouldn't like about having Sale and Price at the top is that we still don't have a righty that can dominate a game.
(Stacy Revere, Getty Images/North America)
The most realistic pitcher on this list is now 33 years old and is coming off a very bad year by his standards. Last year he started on the DL (first stint on DL of his career) and really began his Spring Training when he returned mid-season. So he was still getting his feet wet in June and July. Didn't help that he was on a really bad Tigers team. In August he had a 1.50 ERA and went 1-3, that's a phenomenal ERA. So he can still get it done. If he's healthy, he can be a Cy Young candidate once again.
Due to his age and "declining" skill, Verlander would also be the cheapest and easily the most crucial deal for the organization.
Tigers Receive: Hanley Ramirez
Red Sox Receive: Justin Verlander
Okay, the beauty of acquiring Verlander is that he's one of the few pitchers in the game that you wouldn't be surprised if he threw a no-hitter every time he takes the hill. Put Verlander behind Price and you have one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. His fastball has taken a bit of a hit, but he can still reach back for more when he needs to. We also get Hanley out of here and can play Travis Shaw full-time, which would be huge for the team down the road.