The 2015 season for the Boston Red Sox could not have played out much worse. Heading into the season, the Red Sox front office took an unusual approach to building their Opening Day roster. Rather than having a healthy balance of talent on the pitching staff and in the lineup, they opted to use all of their resources to bring in position players. Ben Cherington and company essentially decided that they would win games with an offense that could overcome the mediocrity that was the pitching staff.
They could not have been more wrong. The offense got off to a hot start in April, but the pitching was far worse than the team anticipated. An abundance of issues caused the production of the Red Sox bats to decline as the season went on, and now the Red Sox are stuck at the bottom of the league. The team fired Cherington, and all of Red Sox Nation expects wholesale change come the end of the season. The biggest area of concern is unquestionably the starting pitching, and you can expect the rotation to look much different next season. Here are my predictions for which Red Sox active starting pitchers will still be in Boston once Dave Dombrowski has completed his offseason transactions.
Joe Kelly: Gone
When the Red Sox acquired flame throwing pitcher Joe Kelly from the St. Louis Cardinals at the trade deadline a year ago, he immediately came in and showed a lot of potential. The Red Sox were hoping he could build on the previous season and be a relatively effective pitcher this season. The exact opposite has since occurred. Kelly has regressed significantly, and has been forced out of games in the early innings on many occasions this year. With the high velocity he posses on his fastball, he could be productive as a reliever, but Kelly has been clear that he will not pitch in relief. Barring a sudden change, there is almost no chance he is a part of this team next year.
Wade Miley: 2016 Roster
Miley has been nowhere near elite this season, but unlike most pitchers on this team's roster, he has at least been consistent. With a 10-9 record and a 4.41 ERA, Miley has been the club's best pitcher this year. If the team wants to be in contention next summer, Miley can't once again be the best on the staff, but he certainly deserves to be a number four or five starter on a winning team.
Henry Owens: Gone
Henry Owens has been one of the premier talents in the highly ranked Red Sox farm system over recent years. He made his Major League debut earlier this season, and has posted a 2-1 record along with a 4.50 ERA. He does offer promise, but with the Red Sox already having multiple top left-handed pitching prospects, I expect him to be moved this offseason. New Red Sox President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, has a history of trading prospects for Major League talent, and I expect Owens to be one of the players he packages to bring a star player to Boston.
Rick Porcello: 2016 Roster
If I was basing this prediction by performance alone, Rick Porcello has no place on the 2016 Red Sox. The issue is, Ben Cherington secured Porcello's place on next year's team earlier this season when he gave him a four-year extension worth in excess of $20 million a year. Unless Dombrowski is willing to eat a significant portion of that deal, we're stuck with him. Porcello is certainly a better pitcher than what he has shown us in his first year in Boston, but the best-case scenario is that he is an effective back-end starter for next season's team.
Eduardo Rodriguez: 2016 Roster
Eduardo Rodriguez was the headline in the return of a trade that sent reliever Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles at last year's trade deadline. He was called up to the big leagues earlier this summer, and has been a very effective starter for the organization considering he is still a rookie. He owns a 7-5 record and a 4.39 ERA in 16 starts for the Red Sox. He is only 22-years-old, and has a bright future ahead of him. Expect him to be a member of the rotation for years to come.
By Jacob Young, @Jacob_BBS