In span of days, Red Sox revamp rotation
Farrell has high expectations for new acquisitions Porcello, Masterson, Miley
BOSTON -- In just a few days, the Red Sox completely revamped their rotation with three new pieces.
"In a short period of time, [general manager] Ben [Cherington] has done a great job rebuilding this rotation," manager John Farrell said during Saturday's Christmas at Fenway event. "We set out with a specific criteria, and that was an ability to pitch a high number of quality innings. The pitchers that we've added, that has clearly been in their past and their track record. I'm looking forward to getting this started."
After Boston missed out on the Jon Lester sweepstakes, the team felt the need to make changes to its rotation, and quickly.
It all began on Thursday, with the team officially acquiring Rick Porcello from the Tigers in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and Minor Leaguer Gabe Speier. Later in the day, the team officially signed Justin Masterson to a one-year, $9.5 million contract.
Then on Friday night, the team acquired All-Star left-hander Wade Miley from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Minor Leaguer Raymel Flores.
"When you see that all are under 30 years of age, they should be in their prime," Farrell said. "When you start to look at starting pitchers who excel in the season and during the postseason, they are guys that are in their 20s."
Right now, the Red Sox rotation will be: Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly, Porcello, Masterson and Miley. It's a group that lacks a true ace. Video: Nelson discusses the Red Sox's pitching acquisitions
"Every guy that evolved into a No. 1 kind of pitcher, they had opportunity and they had support and they performed their way into those roles," Farrell said. "We feel like there are candidates like that in the rotation who could emerge into that. The guy that goes to the mound, he's the No. 1 starter."
Signed by the Tigers as the 27th selection overall in the the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Porcello has made at least 27 starts and pitched at least 162 2/3 innings in all six big league seasons since his 2009 debut.
The right-hander is coming off a career-best season in which he went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA.
"You look at the last few years, particularly where he started to use his curveball a little more, it spread the strike zone top and bottom more consistently," Farrell said. "All of a sudden, the sinker becomes more effective." Video: Masterson happily returns to Boston on one-year deal
Masterson is coming back to the Red Sox, his original franchise, after a rough 2014 season with the Indians and Cardinals. He went 7-9 with a 5.88 ERA due in part to discomfort in his rib cage and right knee and shoulder issues.
After being traded to the Indians in 2009, Masterson came into his own. In 2013, he was an American League All-Star, going 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA.
"There is a personal understanding of Justin and what makes him tick," Farrell said. "Having firsthand knowledge and getting established here and into an All-Star-caliber pitcher in Cleveland, we feel like he's primed for a bounce back, and some of the physical ailments that restricted him last year."
The last piece of the puzzle, Miley, started Opening Day for Arizona and finished the 2014 season with an 8-12 record and a 4.34 ERA.
The left-hander has logged 200-plus innings the last two seasons and worked 194 2/3 innings as an All-Star in 2012. Video: Miley on joining Red Sox, Cherington mum on rotation
"When you look at three consecutive years and nearly 200 innings per -- a left-hander that gives us that presence in the rotation, now that we can kind of start to line up some things," Farrell said. "Not that we would adjust his rotation very often. This division has turned into a little bit more of a right-handed-hitting division with Toronto and the changes that have gone on there. Baltimore is a little bit more right-handed now, as well.
"Miley, who comes to us after having pitched in a tough pitchers environment in Arizona, we feel like his stuff is going to translate well to the American League."