This wasn’t the best day for the Red Sox.
They watched as their top rival, the New York Yankees, so quiet for so long, pounced on a chance to greatly improve their pitching. They signed free-agent righty Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal. This folks is a bargain.
They also traded hitting prospect Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners for big righthander Michael Pineda.
The Yankees now have seven starting pitchers – CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes. Kuroda and Pineda. They also have Dellin Betances waiting in the wings as an eighth guy.
This was an interesting set of circumstances because it now gives the Yankees a lot of flexibility. They have always been laying in the weeds on a deal for Matt Garza, but were not willing to give up three prospects to Theo Epstein. Does Pineda appeal to Epstein? Could this be a situation where a flip of players could occur?
And if it isn’t the Yankees on Garza, then do the Red Sox now either have to 1) do their best to sign veteran Roy Oswalt for a year, or 2) trade for Garza themselves?
The Red Sox were always talking to and interested in Kuroda, but the $10 million figure seemed too much. They’re paying Daisuke Matsuzaka $10 million this season and he’ll miss at least half of the season. They’re also paying John Lackey almost $16 million and he’ll miss the season with Tommy John surgery.
The Red Sox are taking a low-cost approach to acquiring pitchers. They have brought in Carlos Silva and Aaron Cook for look-see’s in spring training, feeling they have three top starters in Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. But you need five.
The Red Sox are experimenting with Daniel Bard as a fourth starter and perhaps Alfredo Aceves as a fifth starter. But whether either or both can be effective starters are very much unanswered.
So what do the Red Sox do? Do they pay no attention to the Yankees and let them do their thing while they do theirs? Or do they counter them?
The Yankees really were torn about dealing Montero, who looks to be a guy who can really hit for power. But the realization was that he probably wouldn’t have been a great catcher and given the fact they have older players like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter who need to DH every now and then, they wanted to create a spot where those guys could go from time to time.
The Yankees have a very good bullpen with Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Dave Robertson as their back-end threesome. By May or June, Joba Chamberlain will be added to the mix as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
So the Yankees got a lot better today at a relatively low cost.