Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

The Boston Red Sox’s midseason boldness came with a catch.

The Red Sox, who made several deals before the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, must rebuild their starting rotation this offseason. General manager Ben Cherington made it perfectly clear he plans to pursue pitching through trades and/or free agency, but landing top-flight hurlers won’t come easy.

A lot of teams will be competing with the Red Sox for pitching help this winter. Fortunately for Boston, the organization has plenty of flexibility. The Red Sox have money to spend and a stockpile of prospects who potentially could be included in trades.

2014 at a glance
The Red Sox’s pitching staff underwent a massive renovation in 2014. Four-fifths of Boston’s Opening Day rotation — Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront — were traded amid the team’s struggles. Clay Buchholz was the last man standing, so to speak.

Right now, Buchholz and Joe Kelly, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Lackey trade, are the only two locks for the 2015 rotation. Even they have their warts. Buchholz finished the season strong but struggled for much of the year. And Kelly was solid in 10 starts with Boston but occasionally lacked control.

The Red Sox relied heavily on young pitchers down the stretch, but none made a considerable impact. Brandon Workman, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo had varying levels of success, leaving Cherington and Co. with more questions than answers as far as prospects are concerned.

Whose job to lose?
The Red Sox can pencil in Buchholz and Kelly. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Boston likely will acquire at least two starters, meaning one spot could be up for grabs among the club’s internal options. De La Rosa had the most success …read more