Amidst all the shouting and name calling, one thing seems to be overlooked in the upcoming "Shane Victorino vs. Boston sports media" fight at WrestleMania.
Victorino is right.
The Red Sox need an ace. In fact, they might also need a closer.
Those are two of the most important pieces in building a championship ball club. And that’s what this is all about here in Boston, a championship.
In Major League Baseball, it’s a fact that you won’t win a World Series without dominant starting pitching. Sure, you just might happen to find a reliable closer somewhere in your pitching arsenal -- keep an eye on Koji Uehara and his health issues -- but one thing we know for sure is that, as of March 26, 2015, the Boston Red Sox are without an ace.
The current rotation can customize as many T-shirts as they want. There isn’t one “ace” in the deck. At least, not one that we know of right now.
I believe hope is the greatest thing in the world. But it’s not the best option for a big-league ball club that has plenty of prospects to dangle for a trade that would land the Red Sox a dominant starter. Because right now, all we have with this Red Sox rotation is hope. And having a "rotation of hope" is not an ideal situation for a big-market team.
Clay Buchholz is hoping to prove the doubters wrong. Rick Porcello is hoping to have a breakout season on his new one-year contract. Justin Masterson is hoping to have a bounce-back year under his new one-year contract. The Red Sox are hoping that Wade Miley was worth trading away their possible closer-of-the-future in Rubby De La Rosa. And Joe Kelly is hoping that his improbable prediction of winning this year’s AL Cy Young comes somewhere close to that result.
Meanwhile, Cole Hamels wants to play for a contender. And even if Victorino was subtly calling for Mookie Betts to be traded when he told the Philadelphia Daily News this week that he’d "love" to see Hamels in a Red Sox uniform, the man isn’t talking crazy. Not when he goes on the record to acknowledge that there’s a difference between a “prospect” and an “established” player.
The Red Sox need an ace. And even if it takes trading a highly-touted prospect in order to land a dominant starting pitcher, I’ll make that move any day of the week.
Because it works. Just ask Hanley Ramirez, who was traded for Josh Beckett back in November of 2005. It resulted in a Red Sox World Championship in 2007.
So, like him or not, Victorino is right. And I'd love to see Hamels in a Red Sox uniform too.
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