The Red Sox signed Daniel Nava, their sixth outfielder, and traded pitcher Anthony Renaudo, while continuing to insist they do not need an ace. Something has to give with this queue of outfielders ready for primetime.You don’t stock them like you stock a bullpen.
Nava is a good left-handed batter (actually a switch hitter) and could make Mike Napoli dispensable at first base. Take Napoli, the young third baseman Garret Cechini and a decent pitcher like Justin Masterson, and you have a package worthy of an ace starter. These are all ready-for-primetime players who could impact a team like the Nationals, the Phillies or the Reds, all of whom have tradable aces (Jordan Zimmerman, Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto respectively).
A deal like this would leave the Red Sox strong in the outfield, while keeping a good balance of left and right handed hitters on the squad. It also opens a logjam of players, like Cechini and Jackie Bradley who need to play in the Majors sooner, rather than later. You can’t leave ripe prospects on the tree indefinitely.
The question is not merely, Do the Red Sox need an ace? but What will they do with their overflow of young prospects? One question might answer the other.