Here are four moves the Red Sox could make to fix their roster, and especially their starting rotation, for 2013:
No. 1: Trade Josh Beckett and $20 million of his remaining $31.5 million to the Braves for shortstop prospect Tyler Pastornicky.
No. 2: Trade Jacoby Ellsbury for a starter. How about Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers? Ellsbury is going to be impossible to sign as a free agent after 2013, or exceedingly costly. Get pitching back now before it’s too late.
No. 3: Sign free agent James Shields (assuming the Rays don’t pick up his option). He can handle the AL East.
No. 4: Release John Lackey. Or trade him for whatever you can get, maybe somebody else’s bad contract. Eating $30.50 million would sting. But it would be worth twice as much in positive publicity and send a clear message to the fan base that it’s a new era.
This would create a rotation of Lester, Buchholz, Shields, Billingsley and Doubront. The Sox could then make Franklin Morales a long reliever/spot starter.