If the Sox were to go after one of the remaining hurlers in free agency, there aren’t too many household names available, although a few could turn heads if they’re able to pitch the way they have at times in the past.
One pitcher garnering a lot of attention lately is Javier Vazquez, who has been impressing scouts in winter ball down in Puerto Rico. He’s apparently regained the velocity he had early on in his career, and it appears he has the itch to pitch again after sitting out 2012. Vazquez went 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA 32 starts with the Marlins in 2011.
The pitcher available who had the best 2012 is Kyle Lohse, who went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts last season. His market hasn’t really materialized yet, though, because whichever team signs the 34-year-old will need to relinquish a draft pick in addition to whatever financial commitment it makes.
Shaun Marcum, meanwhile, is an intriguing option because he’s proven in the past that he is capable of pitching in the AL East. Marcum went 37-25 with a 3.85 ERA during parts of five seasons with the Blue Jays, and he continued to pitch well upon being traded to Milwaukee, but health concerns have steered some teams away.
Then, there are the classic low-risk, high-reward hurlers who are tough to put a finger on. This season, Ben Sheets and Brandon Webb represent the class of those types of pitchers.
Sheets went 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA in nine starts with Oakland last season, but he’s a four-time All-Star despite missing all of 2009 and all of 2011.
Webb, who hasn’t stepped foot on a big league mound since 2009, and even then made just one start, was once of the game’s premier pitchers. The 33-year-old is a three-time All-Star who won a Cy Young award in 2006, and then finished second in NL Cy Young voting the two seasons after that.
When all factors — cost, talent, potential, etc. — are considered, who would you most like to see the Red Sox gamble on?
Tune in to the Red Sox Town Hall on NESN at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 19.
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