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Why the Red Sox Should Chase after Brandon McCarthy

2012 number one starter Brandon McCarthy (Ed Zurga, Getty Images / SF)

,One of the biggest needs for the Red Sox this offseason is starting pitching. The Sox have other needs to fill, but starting pitching comes off as the biggest need. Looking at the pitching market, there are several options for the Sox to explore from.

Zack Greinke stands out as being the best pitcher on the market. Looking at his asking price of six years of $150 million, the Sox seem hesitant on giving that much money to a pitcher. Considering Greinke would cost too much, the Red Sox need to explore other pitchers who can contribute to the rotation and cost not too much money. One of the best options who could help bolster the Sox rotation is Brandon McCarthy.

1) Would be a reliable 3rd starter

After being out for the 2010 season, Brandon McCarthy signed a one-year deal with the A’s in 2011 and had a bounce-back season. He then signed again for 2012, and was excellent, finishing with a 3.24 ERA in 18 starts.

His season ended early when he took a line drive from Erick Aybar to the head. Although it was originally seen as a life-threatening injury, McCarthy should be ready for the 2013 season.

When healthy, McCarthy can contribute to the rotation and be a valuable starter whatever spot in the rotation he pitches at. At the age of 29, McCarthy still has a lot of baseball left in him.

For right now, the Sox can really only rely on Jon Lester and Clay Bucholz as to carry the staff. McCarthy may not be a Zack Greinke, but he sure can contribute to a struggling Red Sox pitching rotation.

2) His ERA is improving.

McCarthy last pitched for the Rangers in 2009 and finished with an ERA of 4.62. Since joining the Athletics, his ERA has improved substantially. In 2011, he finished with an ERA of 3.32 and the 2012 with ERA of 3.24. Knowing the Sox finished 27th in the league in ERA, McCarthy would help improve those numbers.  At Fenway, McCarthy has with an ERA of 1.35, the best out of any stadium he pitched at. The next highest ERA is 2.54 at Tropicana Field.

Just looking at ERA, it does not mean that McCarthy is a perfect fit. But, seeing the improvement in ERA should indicate to the Sox he would boost the rotation.

3)    Fits the 3rd spot in the rotation

Following his scary incident in the 2012 season, it is reasonable to expect McCarthy’s deal to be around two years in the $20-$35 million range.  Going into the 2013 season, it is seen as Jon Lester and Clay Bucholz leading the Red Sox staff. For the Red Sox to keep pursuing pitchers like Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse, it does not make sense. Sanchez has set his asking price at six years’ worth $90 million. Giving Sanchez that type of money for which he could be our 3rd starter does not seem right.

According to Ricky Doyle of, Kyle Lohse is believed to be seeking a three-year deal. Coming off a great 2012 season at the age of 34, Lohse asking price could be high also.

This is why Brandon McCarthy fits perfectly in the 3rd spot. McCarthy’s deal would be at a reasonable price for a 3rd starter and he would fit perfectly into the rotation when healthy. McCarthy should be seen to the Sox as a low-risk, high-reward type player coming into the 2013 season.

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