There's no guarantee that a starter will be healthy as Daisuke Matsuzaka went on the 60-day disabled list in June after being on the 15-day DL in April and didn't return to the mound and to his true form until September.
John Lackey leads the class of free agent pitchers this winter.
Lackey, 31 is coming off a good season with the Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim, the only team he's played for in his career as he was brought up its minor league system.
He posted an 11-8 record with a 3.83 earned run average in 176.1 innings pitched. In the post-season, Lackey shutout the Red Sox as the Angels swept the American League Division Series before falling to the New York Yankees in the ALCS.
Currently the Red Sox 2010 rotation is set as:
1. Josh Beckett
2. Jon Lester
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
4. Clay Buchholz
5. Tim Wakefield
But Wakefield's condition is kind of iffy (a word that's banned in Boston) especially with his recurring back problems. Lackey would make a nice fit with Beckett and Lester. And with Buchholz is the mix for the entire 2010 season, it should be a very exciting year.
The question is, will the Red Sox be willing to pay big bucks for this guy and for how may years? He's not AJ Burnett or CC Sabathia, but he does have a World Series ring and five years of playoff experience (2002, 2005, 2007-2009).
Mike DiGiovanna wrote in a story dated back on October 27:
"John Lackey, the team's ace, will be the top starter on the free agent market, a right-hander who will probably command a contract of at least five years and $100 million."
It's definitely something to ponder besides the Jason Bay situation.
In order to even think to keep up with the World Series Champion Yankees, Theo Epstein needs to pull some strings and get it done.
Other players to ponder:
Hideki Matsui OF
Matt Holliday LF
Roy Halladay RHP