Three items are coming together to produce an embarrassment of pitching riches for the Boston Red Sox. It's the kind of choice any general manager would love to have:
- Beginning yesterday, all players signed this past offseason can now be traded without their permission. This of course includes Brad Penny, whose value has risen steadily this season and may never be higher after he outdueled C.C. Sabathia in his last outing.
- John Smoltz's next start may or may not be for the Red Sox. He's scheduled to pitch Thursday; his rehab assignment ends the next day.
- Clay Buchholz has destroyed AAA hitting and would like everyone to know that he'd sure love a chance to pitch in the big leagues, no matter the team.
Never mind that Michael Bowden has also been tearing up Pawtucket, and Justin Masterson isn't shabby himself when he takes the hill as a starter.
- Josh Beckett: 5-1, 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 50 Ks, 16 BB
- Jon Lester: 4-3, 4.38 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 63 Ks, 18 BB
- Tim Wakefield: 6-2, 6.13 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 26 Ks, 22 BB
- Brad Penny: 3-2, 4.10 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 38 Ks, 9 BB
- Daisuke Matsuzaka: 1-3, 6.20 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 27 Ks, 9 BB
Clearly the best starting rotation at the moment does not include Matsuzaka, who (unlike Wakefield) has shown us nothing positive in his seven starts this season. A second DL stint — fatigued shoulder, one month for arm strengthening, mechanics work and a bevy of rehab starts — seems like the most logical choice. If and when a good enough offer for Penny arises, Buchholz can take his place in the rotation.