For the first time since 2010, Jon Lester will not be the Opening Day starter for the Red Sox.
After trading him last July and failing to sign him in free agency, the team will need to look elsewhere to fill the void left by the two-time World Series champ.
But Lester is not the only pitcher the Red Sox have replaced. Four out of the five members of last year’s rotation out of Spring Training are gone, with Clay Buchholz being the only holdover after John Lackey, Jake Peavy, and Felix Doubront were traded last season. Even the starters first chosen to replace these players are gone as Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Anthony Ranaudo were all shipped off this winter.
Joe Kelly joins Buchholz as the only 2014 starter who will be used in the 2015 rotation and joining these two are Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Justin Masterson. There is no clear cut “ace” among the bunch, but this year’s Opening Day starter will likely come down to Buchholz or Porcello, who is coming off a career year with numbers that far outpace the rest of the Red Sox starters.
There is upside in the rest though as Kelly wowed in limited time in 2013, Masterson was the ace of the Indians for years, and Miley was the Rookie of the Year runner up in 2012. But there are also a lot of questions among this group and it remains to be seen if they can capitalize on their potential and succeed.
Continuing with our 2015 season preview for the Red Sox here is a look at what the rotation might look like and what we can expect from it.