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Red Sox 2015 pitching in flux, not so much with batting lineup

Red Sox 2015 pitching rotation in flux, not so much with batting lineup

When the Red Sox traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Athletics they received one of the best power-hitting outfielders in the game in Yoenis Cespedes, but there was no question the organization was readying themselves for 2015.

With Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts already on board for the foreseeable future, Boston's batting lineup is pretty well set for next season.

"A lot of the guys that are now on this roster will more than likely be on the roster next April, so we've got to start building a team that can win,” general manager Ben Cherington said after making four trades on July 31.

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While the lineup has some certainty, the pitching rotation is in flux.

Four of the five starters to open the 2014 season were traded and the only one remaining is Clay Buchholz - who has the second-highest ERA in baseball this year (min. 100 innings) at 5.79.

Without any clearcut top of the line rotation pitcher, it’s clear the organization will be active in the free agent or trade market in search of that type of pitcher this offseason. The likes of Lester, Max Scherzer, Johnny Cueto and James Shields are the type of players that could be added for the right price.

The No. 4 and 5 spots remain in question with the final month and a half of the season playing a major role in who those spots will go to based on the performances of the younger starters currently with the team.

Rubby De La Rosa has shown flashes of being a serviceable major league starter having given up one run or less in six of his 12 starts, but he’s also had some bad outings mixed in too where he struggles with his control. Allen Webster has big league stuff, but he’s still trying to find it in the majors as he has a 4.79 ERA in four starts in 2014. Brandon Workman, a mainstay in the bullpen during last year’s World Series title run, is another option but he is 1-6 with a 4.45 ERA this season.

Current minor leaguers Anthony Ranaudo (2-0 in two big league starts), Matt Barnes and top-prospect Henry Owens could also be in the discussion, as well.

While the Red Sox are 56-67, 14.5 games out for first place in the AL East, there is still plenty of reason to tune into games as jobs for 2015 will be won and lost.

Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter: @RyanHannable

 
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