If the Red Sox get the news they are dreading – that lefty David Price will miss much, most or all of the 2017 season because of his forearm/elbow injury – they could stay in-house for a replacement or explore the trade market for a mid-tier starter. They could also go all-in and target another ace.
Even without Price, Boston would have five solid starters in Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz. But the depth behind those five – several of whom are returning from injuries – is questionable. And this team is built to win now.
Far-fetched? Perhaps. But here are five big splashes the Red Sox could consider:
USA TODAY SportsGreg M. Cooper
Because the two teams completed the Chris Sale blockbuster during the offseason, the White Sox are quite familiar with the Red Sox’s farm system. Chicago could use a catcher, and Boston’s system features a major-league-ready option in Blake Swihart. Quintana has been among the AL’s best lefties the past four years, posting a 3.41 ERA in that span and tossing at least 200 innings in each season.
Still, it’s somewhat insane to imagine 40 percent of the White Sox’s 2016 rotation pitching for the Red Sox in 2017.
USA TODAY SportsKamil Krzaczynski
The A’s right-hander has been the subject of trade rumors for seemingly forever, and the demand will not drop even after his rough 2016 season (5-11, 5.69 ERA, 4.67 FIP, 1.50 WHIP). Nor will Oakland’s asking price drop. From 2014-15, Gray won 28 games with a 2.91 ERA and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2015.
The A’s have been reluctant to part with him, but perhaps the Red Sox farm system can tempt them.
USA TODAY SportsJohn Hefti
Another ace whose name is no stranger to trade discussions, Archer is also coming off a subpar season. In 33 starts with the Rays in 2016, his ERA jumped to 4.02 and he served up a career-worst 30 homers. However, that came on the heels of three consecutive seasons with a 3.33 ERA or lower, and Archer still averaged more than 10K’s per nine innings for the second consecutive season.
And worth noting: his 3.81 FIP, and his strong second half (3.25 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) last season. Plus, he obviously has experience in the AL East.
USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
It’s not as crazy as it sounds, considering Verlander was mentioned a trade chip at the start of the offseason when it appeared Detroit was going into rebuild mode. Considering Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski came to the Red Sox from the Tigers’ organization, it seems likely that a deal could get done.
Verlander’s strong bounce-back effort (16 wins, 3.04 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) earned him a second-place AL Cy Young finish behind Red Sox righty Rick Porcello last season. The biggest roadblock: Verlander would come at a hefty price – he is owed $28 million per season through 2019 (with a $22 million vesting option for 2020).
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Talk about big price tags, Greinke is entering the second year of a six-year, $206 million deal. And that’s a real deal-breaker. But perhaps he can be pried away after a disappointing debut (4.37 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) in Arizona that saw his ERA jump nearly three runs over 2015 with the Dodgers.
And there’s familiarity here also: New D-backs GM Mike Hazen came from the Red Sox organization, as did new manager Torey Lovullo.