AL East: Each team’s biggest offseason need

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

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Boston Red Sox: Starting pitching

The trip through the AL East offseason will start with the last place Boston Red Sox. After a World Series victory in 2013, the Red Sox are a combined 149-175 with two last place finishes. There’s a new leader in town, Dave Dombrowski, who will have to begin cleaning up the mess left behind by Ben Cherington. The Red Sox “won” the offseason last year with free-agent signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, two aging stars with attitude issues. Both flopped in their first season in Boston. The Sox traded Yoenis Cespedes for Rick Porcello, and promptly gave the pitch-to-contact right-hander a deal worth north of $20 million per season. Porcello pitched to a lot of contact in 2015, and opponents batted .287 against him. For the fourth time in his seven-year career, Porcello allowed over 10 hits per nine innings.

The Red Sox starting rotation did somehow manage to finish outside the bottom-five in the league in terms of ERA, but not by much. Rookies Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez can be thanked for that. Clay Buchholz pitched well, but was only able to make 18 starts. As always, injuries are a concern for Buchholz going forward. Porcello, Joe Kelly, and Wade Miley were awful.

Expect the Red Sox to be very aggressive in the starting pitching market this winter. David Price seems to favor the Chicago Cubs, and will be the biggest domino to fall in the crop of frontline aces. The Red Sox will likely make Price an offer, but it’s doubtful he will end up in Beantown. Jordan Zimmermann is a more realistic target for Boston, and would be a very good addition to the staff. The Red Sox also have an overabundance of prospects and young outfielders. It would not be surprising to see the front office land a top name through free agency, and one more through a trade. That would leave the Red Sox with a much more steady rotation. The Red Sox have the bats in place to become a contender again with a few additions to the rotation.

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