- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has made it known that he’s exhausting every possible option to acquire another starting pitcher. He’s looking into free agency and he’s speaking with other GMs about trades.
Now that it appears Ryan Dempster might be out of the mix in Boston since he turned down a two-year offer worth $25 million from the Red Sox, Cherington obviously will look elsewhere. James Shields also is off the board as the Rays dealt him to the Royals for a package that included outfield prospect Wil Myers, who had been part of trade discussions involving Jon Lester.
Red Sox manager John Farrell recently explained the type of starter the team is looking for, saying they’re in search of a pitcher who can log a lot of innings. Since the free-agent market doesn’t offer a lot of options, Cherington may have to look to trade for a starter.
Here are a few options that remain for Cherington & Co.:
KYLE LOHSE (FREE AGENT): The Red Sox are interested in the 33-year-old veteran right-hander, who posted a 16-3 record with a 2.86 ERA in 33 starts (211 innings) for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. He last pitched in the American League with Minnesota in 2006 and was a teammate of David Ortiz with the Twins in 2001 and 2002. Other teams also have strong interest, but with Dan Haren (agreed to a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals) and Dempster (apparently) out of the mix, Lohse could be a main target for the Sox.
ANIBAL SANCHEZ (FREE AGENT): The Red Sox had interest in Sanchez at the trade deadline before the Miami Marlins dealt the 28-year-old right-hander to the Detroit Tigers. The Red Sox originally signed Sanchez as an amateur free agent in 2001 so Cherington is familiar with his ability and makeup. The Texas Rangers also have their sights on Sanchez, and he figures to command at least a three-year deal.
MATT GARZA (UNDER CUBS CONTROL): The Red Sox considered trading for Garza at the deadline last July. Adding Garza could help the current starters in Boston because he’s known for his solid work ethic in between starts and wouldn’t be afraid to speak his mind. However, Garza suffered a right elbow injury just before the deadline and was shut down by the Cubs in August. Chicago manager Dale Sveum said during the winter meetings that the 29-year-old right-hander is healthy and will be ready at the start of next season. The Red Sox likely could acquire Garza for a relatively minor trade as he would only be under Boston’s control for one season before he'd be eligible for free agency.
MIKE MINOR (UNDER BRAVES CONTROL): The 24-year-old left-hander for the Atlanta Braves could be an interesting trade target for the Red Sox. Minor posted an 11-10 record with a 4.12 ERA in 30 starts (179 innings) in 2012 and no doubt the Braves would want something relatively significant in return.
OUTSIDE THE BOX -- HOW ABOUT BRONSON ARROYO?: The 35-year-old Reds righty has one year remaining on his deal and will earn $11.5 million in 2013. It’s not that crazy of an scenario for the Red Sox, but there are hurdles given that Arroyo has $15 million in deferrals that are payable in 2013 if he is traded, and he has 10-5 rights so he would have to approve any trade. Arroyo helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, and even though he’s been with the Reds for the last seven seasons, he could be a perfect fit back in Boston. Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein admitted that trading Arroyo to the Reds in exchange for Wily Mo Pena in March 2006 was a mistake. Arroyo is extremely durable and has reached the 200-inning plateau in seven of his last eight seasons. As much as Red Sox fans would like to see Arroyo return, this is a long shot.
Your turn: Which of these options do you like best? Or do you have something else in mind? Let us know in the comments section.