Sox' Sixth Starter Not On The Market

With Curt Schilling out for at least half the season, the Red Sox are in search of additional depth for the rotation. But Theo Epstein has hinted he's more than content to solve the problem from within by relying on minor leaguers instead of scouring what's left of the free agent market.

And who can blame him? The track records of the starting pitchers still looking for work as camps open suggest they would be perfect in a sixth starter role. That's also the problem: Their ceilings are limited—and already defined—and their price tags all but assure a poor return on the investment.

Here's a look at five starters still on the market and why they're poor fits for the Sox.


Josh Fogg: Made 29 starts for the Rockies last year, the sixth straight season in which he's made at least 26 starts, and recorded 10 wins for the fifth time. He also earned the nickname "The Dragon Slayer" for his ability to beat aces such as Schilling and Brandon Webb. But he was no match for the firepower of the Sox' lineup in Game Three of the World Series, when he was hammered for six runs on 10 hits in just 2 2/3 innings. Such performances would likely be the norm in the AL given the 4.93 ERA he's recorded pitching entirely in the NL since 2002. He's also yet to throw 200 innings in a season.

Byung-Hyun Kim: It's obvious why he's a bad fit for Boston. Made 22 starts for the Rockies, Diamondbacks and Marlins last year and posted a 6.08 ERA despite winning a career-high 10 games. Such a performance serves as a symbol of Kim's descent from phenom closer to journeyman swingman. That spiral, of course, started following his trade from Arizona to the Sox in 2003. Since then, he's gone 33-38 with a 5.14 ERA. Hard to believe he's only 29, but he may almost be out of chances.

Kyle Lohse: Was supposed to be one of the top two starters on a lean market after he made 32 starts for the Reds and Phillies. But while Carlos Silva parlayed career-long mediocrity into a four-year, $48 million deal with the Mariners, Lohse's agent, Scott Boras, once again overplayed his hand and left Lohse looking for work. Chalk this one up to a rare sense of restraint by general managers who recognized Lohse's so-called durability—he's made at least 30 starts in five of the last six years—conceals the fact he's got just one 200-inning season under his belt and spent time at Triple-A as recently as 2006. He's also posted a 4.61 ERA in 255 2/3 innings since he was traded by the Twins to the Reds in July 2006 and had a 5.70 ERA in 778 2/3 innings for the Twins from 2001-2006.

Odalis Perez: Southpaw looked like a star when he posted a 3.00 ERA in 2002 and a 3.25 ERA two years later, but he's battled weight issues and a variety of injuries since then. Made 26 starts for the Royals last year but pitched at least six innings just 10 times. Of the hurlers on this list, though, Perez is the most likely candidate to actually help the Sox: He's posted a 3.79 ERA in three career starts at Fenway Park with 19 strikeouts in 19 innings—including 10 whiffs over six innings Sept. 8, 2006.

Jeff Weaver: Ugh. Made the first of his 27 starts for the Mariners last year against the Sox in the Fenway opener and got tattooed for seven runs in two innings. It was a sign of things to come: He gave up six or more earned runs in eight starts and finished with a 6.20 ERA even with an AL-best two shutouts. How did that happen? With a 5.79 ERA in 472 2/3 innings for the Yankees, Angels and Mariners since 2002, it's pretty established that he's a disaster in the AL. Somewhat surprising he hasn't found a home yet in the NL given his adequacy there—he posted a 4.28 ERA for the Dodgers and Cardinals from 2004-06—and his ability to eat innings (three 220-inning seasons since 2001), but then again, guess his agent? That's right: Boras.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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