Red Sox confident in rotation behind Price

Buchholz, Rodriguez, Porcello and Kelly set to follow ace

February 19th, 2016

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. -- The Red Sox are heartened by the addition of ace David Price. However, fans and media have expressed skepticism over whether the rotation is good enough after the big lefty.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell did their best to quiet those concerns while speaking at Grapefruit League Media Day on Friday.

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"Well, again, you can always get better," said Dombrowski. "You have to make a decision on where you're going to spend your finances at various times. We actually have great depth in starters."

Clay Buchholz, if he stays healthy, could be the No. 2 pitcher.

"Clay Buchholz is a very talented pitcher. His concern has been more keeping him on the field on a regular basis," said Dombrowski. "We're hopeful to get him close to 200 innings. He wants to do that. That's really a key for us. If he's out there on the field like that, he's a quality big league guy. He's a top-of-the-rotation, [No. 2]-type of guy out there."

Aside from Buchholz, the man most capable of anchoring the rotation along with Price is Eduardo Rodriguez, who won 10 games in his rookie year.

"Eduardo Rodriguez, we really like a lot," Dombrowski said. "He's a young guy that's improving."

"I like our rotation," said Farrell. "Certainly health is going to have a lot to do with it because a healthy Buchholz is an upper-end-of-the-rotation pitcher. The talent of Eddie Rodriguez, he's a guy that doesn't get talked about all that much and is talked about less with the addition of Price, but that's as good a rookie year as you'd like to see from any young pitcher coming to the big leagues."

And what about Rick Porcello, who won 15 games for the Tigers two years ago?

"Rick Porcello is a solid big league pitcher," said Dombrowski. "I know he didn't have the best year last year, but he pitched very well down the stretch, more commensurate with what his abilities are."

Joe Kelly also finished strong last season before missing the final three weeks with shoulder tendinitis. The Red Sox are also enthused by their depth beyond the front five, where young lefties Henry Owens, Brian Johnson and Roenis Elias are supplemented by knuckleballer Steven Wright.

The revamped bullpen -- bolstered by closer Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith -- should also take some of the burden off the rotation.

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"So a lot of times if you can get five or six innings out of people, you're in position where that ends up working for you," Dombrowski said.

Price will lead the Red Sox out of the gate on April 4 at Cleveland, but Farrell is confident the other four pitchers will do their jobs.

"David Price takes all the attention off those guys," Farrell said. "But the guys underneath him are talented and have the capability of pitching us deep into a competitive season and beyond."