The Red Sox have an obvious need for a fifth starter — not necessarily a No. 5 starter — and they’re willing to exhaust all of their options in looking to solidify their rotation.
Boston has shown an interest in Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum and Anibal Sanchez, according to Sean McAdam of Comcast Sports Net. The Red Sox are still looking to sign players to shorter term contracts, so it may be unrealistic to go after a pitcher like Sanchez.
Sanchez is the most promising of that bunch, though. He came up through the Red Sox system — he was part of the Hanley Ramirez-Josh Beckett deal — and proved last season, albeit in a small sample size, that he could get it done in the AL while with the Tigers. Overall in 2012, Sanchez posted a 3.86 ERA with 167 strikeouts in 195 2/3 innings split between Miami and Detroit.
Marcum is a new name to be associated with the Red Sox. The 31-year-old starter has experience in the AL East after having spent the first five years of his career with Toronto. Marcum was slowed by injuries in 2012, but still posted a 3.70 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 124 innings. Marcum has had an ERA+ of over 111 in his past four seasons, and hasn’t posted an ERA+ lower than 108 since his rookie year. ERA+ is a metric that adjusts to a pitcher’s ballpark. An ERA+ of 100 is league average, higher is better, lower is worse.
Dempster is a two-time All Star who has been extremely consistent through his 15-year career. He had a 3.38 ERA split between the Cubs and Rangers, though he did struggle in the AL. Lohse had the best season of his career last year in St. Louis at the age of 33. He had a 2.86 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 211 innings. Liriano is coming off two down years, but could be the best value, since he’ll only be 29 next season.