Cherington said he is planning no significant additions to the rotation, pointing to the depth on the roster.
Lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales will work as a starter in spring training. He was 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA in nine starts last season. In 45⅔ innings as a starter, Morales struck out 47 and allowed 39 hits. As it stands, Morales would start the season in the bullpen. But the versatility he showed last season could prove valuable.
If the Red Sox retain righthander Alfredo Aceves, he could fill a similar role.
Aceves is 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in nine career starts, the last coming in 2011. He has been pushed deeper into the bullpen with the addition of Hanrahan and could provide the most value as a spot starter.
Aceves was a candidate for a rotation spot last spring before becoming the closer and long has expressed a desire to start.
The Red Sox also have several prospects who could provide rotation depth.
Righthanders Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, who were obtained from the Dodgers in August, could prove important. De La Rosa, 23, started 10 games for the Dodgers in 2011 before undergoing elbow surgery He returned to pitch in 13 innings in the minors last season.
De La Rosa was considered one of the game’s better prospects before he was injured. Webster, 22, has a 3.43 ERA in five minor league seasons. He is likely to start the season in Triple A.
Lefthander Chris Hernandez, who has exceeded expectations and moved quickly through the organization since being drafted in 2010, is another option. The Red Sox also believe knuckleballer Steven Wright, obtained from the Indians last season, could factor in. He had a 2.48 ERA in five starts in the Dominican Winter League.
There is a sense, too, that Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves will make a difference after the tumult of the last few seasons.
The Red Sox have had three pitching coaches and two managers in the last two seasons. There was often a sense of disarray when it came to the staff.
“The starting pitching has to get better, we all know that,” Farrell said. “The pieces are there, I believe.”