If the Red Sox set their sites on an established ace like Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, they are not without resources to make a deal. In fact, by signing Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, they have created a logjam of talent that has nowhere to play. Some future stars with no place to go:
- Garin Cecchini
- Jackie Bradley
- Daniel Nava
- Anthony Renaudo
- Brandon Workman
In addition, they have expendables at first base and in their rotation, if it comes to bringing in an ace.
- Mike Napoli
- Allen Craig
- Clay Bucholz
- Joe Kelly
Pick two from the first list and one from the second list and add a minor league prospect (not named Swihart) and you have a pretty sweet deal. I would hate to lose Bucholz, one of my favorite pitchers on the Red Sox, but he is now a work-in-progress and a gamble the Red Sox could avoid.
The players on the first list deserve to be in the Majors next year, but could be left off the 40-man roster in the Spring. They could get their break with a National League team next year, if the Red Sox made a deal. It would be good for them and great for the parent club.
Those who argue that the ace will emerge from the rotation are denying the history of this club. The best pitching staffs in Beantown have been led by the likes of Clemens, Martinez, Schilling, and Beckett. They put the team in contention with the aces of competing staffs. Baltimore had Chris Tillman to shut down the Red Sox. The Sox had Lester to stay competitive until the late innings. Now Lester is a memory. The Red Sox need to replace him.
Ben Cherrington still has some chips on the table he could afford to play. He just has to make the first move toward the right club. How about Cecchini, Bradley, Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez for Cole Hamels? Empty the stockpile, Ben!