Possible offseason pitching targets for Red Sox

Kelly was brought in at the deadline and will help the backend of the rotation
Source: http://www.zimbio.com
Brian Hines (@BringLesterBack)
Contributing Writer

\Lets go back to July 31st, otherwise known as the trade deadline that broke Red Sox fans hearts. 10:20 AM, the Sox make their first out of many moves. This one, a blockbuster. They send hometown favorites Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to Oakland for right handed power hitter Yoenis Cespedes. Later in the day they trade John Lackey and Andrew Miller after already trading Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy earlier in the season. So at that moment our pitching rotation had two players, Clay Buchholz and newly acquired Joe Kelly.

Coming into this offseason the Red Sox need to work on their starting rotation. Lucky for them, there are an immense of superb pitchers out there, and the Sox have a lot of money on their hands. So lets take a look at some of the possible pitchers that could wind up in the 2015 starting rotation.

1. James Shields
    Former Team: Kansas City Royals

It seems very likely that Shields will end up
pitching in Boston next season
Source: http://www.foxsports.com/
James Shields to the Red Sox rumors have been on fire since the Jon Lester trade. Shields fits their needs as a guy who only needs a 4 year contract. Shields also brings experience within the AL East after spending the first several years of his career in Tampa Bay. Shields could be the guy to lead the rotation and get the Sox back on track next season.

2. Jon Lester
    Former Team: Oakland Athletics 

A Lester return is wanted but might be unlikely
Source: http://www.latinpost.com
After a crazy season for Jon Lester, he will hit the open market. Now even though the Red Sox traded him at the deadline, they could be in the pursuit to resign him this winter. Lester brings a strong pitcher who has proven he can handle and lead the Red Sox rotation. He has made it clear he wants to come back here and may even take a discount. But does Henry have interest? Everything with acquiring new pitchers comes back to Henry and how he is not a fan of giving 30 year old pitchers long 5-7 year deals for max money. Especially when the pitcher has never had an arm injury.

3. Max Scherzer
    Former Team: Detroit Tigers

Scherzer is probably the biggest, sexiest name on the market this offseason and will draw a lot of interest from MLB teams. The rumors are that Detroit will try to resign him with the money they saved from the Kinsler deal, but they haven't agreed to a deal yet. But he is one of those 30 year old pitcher, never had arm surgery and looking for a max deal. If he falls to the market and Henry ends up wanting him, he'd be a perfect fit here in Boston.

4. Justin Masterson
    Former Team: St. Louis Cardinals

A familiar face here in Boston could come back and help bolster the 2 or 3 starter position. Masterson had a few solid seasons in Cleveland but has struggled recently with St. Louis. The 29-year-old would represent a quality pickup for the Sox, but still could be a bit pricey for a second or third pitcher.

5. Homer Bailey
    Former Team: Cincinnati Reds
Bailey could be a fit if the Reds don't resign him
Source: http://www.zimbio.com

The Reds will certainly try to extend the 28-year-old Bailey. But if they don't, Bailey would be an interesting target for the Red Sox. Bailey who already has two no-hitters on his resume and posted ERAs of 3.49 and 3.71 in 2013 and 2014. Plus Bailey missed most of this season with an arm injury which might interest John Henry.

6. Brandon McCarthy
    Former Team: New York Yankees

Since arriving in New York, Brandon McCarthy has been a whole new pitcher. McCarthy will be 31 on opening day and might only seek a 2 year contract, which will increase the chances of the Red Sox making him an offer. Now he isn't a sexy name like Scherzer or Lester, but coming in at 2 years for about 25 million he could be a valuable piece. He would provide a quality #2 or #3 while some of the younger guys progress.

7. Cole Hamels
    Current Team: Philadelphia Phillies

Cole Hamels is an interesting name who has been floated around with the Red Sox. Hamels is a guy already locked up for the next 4 years, which makes him attractive to the Red Sox. But Hamels is not a free agent, we'd have to trade for him. To trade for a guy like Hamels it would cost a good amount, but the Red Sox are in need of pitching so a deal might be made.
Sale would be a perfect fit in Boston, but top prospects would
have to be given up to get him
Source: http://mlbreports.com/2013/03/20/sale/

8. Chris Sale
   Current Team: Chicago White Sox

Sale is another name that has been rumored with the Red Sox. Sale is a young, improving pitcher who is also locked up for the next few years. But Sale was one of the best pitchers this season, and is only 25 years old. The price here might be even more than Hamels, but you're getting one of baseballs best pitchers in return. Sale could carry this rotation and be a guy opposing players fear facing.

No matter what the Red Sox do this winter they need help in their starting rotation. If they want to compete for the next few years they need to spend some money on some pitching. Any combination of those 8 guys would improve
our pitching staff and make us contenders. I look forward to the offseason and hope the Red Sox can bring in a few of those guys.