During a last-place season in 2023, the Boston Red Sox failed to find healthy arms and overall consistency from their starting rotation.

Chris Sale and James Paxton departed this offseason while the Red Sox added former All-Star Lucas Giolito, who looks to return to his upper-tier form with Boston’s new pitching brain trust in chief baseball officer Craig Breslow, pitching coach Andrew Bailey and director of pitching Justin Willard leading the way.

At the back end of the rotation, Boston looks for enhanced production from a host of young arms across the roster.

Barring any remaining additions, here’s what the Red Sox will likely roll out for a starting rotation on Opening Day.

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1. Brayan Bello
The Red Sox have rarely had starters as young as Bello take the ball on Opening Day, with legends such as Roger Clemens as rare exceptions.

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The Red Sox open the season in Seattle in late March, around six weeks before Bello’s 25th birthday. Despite his age, Bello voiced his motivation to make the Opening Day start. His incumbency in the rotation and his greater potential will likely be enough to get the nod from Alex Cora.

Bello shined for the majority of his first full big-league season before a rough September. The right-hander consistently made quality starts in the summer when the Red Sox needed him most. He led the team with 12 wins and 157 innings pitched, emerging as a staple of Boston’s future.

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Given his importance to the team, Bello seems destined to set the tone out of the gate for the Red Sox.

2. Lucas Giolito
Giolito’s experience makes him a candidate for the Opening Day start, but his expected path is to enter the No. 2 slot for the Red Sox.

Giolito’s production took a slide over the last two seasons, particularly with an ERA over 4.80 while pitching for three different teams last season. As previously mentioned, Giolito marks the first external project for Boston’s new pitching development to correct and get back on track.

The 29-year-old was brilliant from 2019 to 2021, posting an ERA under 3.55 in each of those campaigns while making an All-Star appearance in the first of those seasons.

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Notably, Giolito gives the Red Sox much-needed innings, posting at least 160 innings in each of his last four full seasons. If nothing else, Giolito will ease the burden on the bullpen that tormented Boston in 2023.

3. Nick Pivetta
Though he often entered out of the bullpen as a bulk reliever in 2023, Pivetta turned his 2023 season around with starter-like production. The righty posted an under 2.55 ERA in three of the final four months of the season, giving the Red Sox a steady arm to lean on.

After being stretched out as a starter for the majority of his time in the majors, Pivetta earns his next chance to step up for the Red Sox.

4. Tanner Houck
Houck often dominates his first time through the order with his electric stuff. This time around, the righty has to find a way to get through the opposing lineup a third time to maintain a rotation spot.

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Houck has shown flashes and definitely shows more starter qualities over other candidates such as Garrett Whitlock and Josh Winckowski. Consistency is the buzz word for Houck with his next rotation chance.

5. Kutter Crawford
Entering the season, Crawford gives Boston one of the more stable options at the No. 5 spot around the league. Out of the versatile arms they have such as Winckowski, Houck and Whitlock, Crawford showed the most potential to produce as a consistent starter.

The right-hander did not shy away from challenging hitters in 2023, attacking the top of the zone with a good four-seam fastball that plays at the letters. Crawford made 23 starts for the Red Sox in 2023 as one of the rare healthy arms while striking out over a batter per inning. Cora kept the righty around the five-inning, 85-pitch mark for most of the year, but Crawford competed and gave Boston a chance to win more times than not in those outings.

With a solid ground to build on, Crawford is a major upside candidate to elevate his performance with the Red Sox.

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Featured image via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images