Not everyone thrilled with Boston's pitching depth

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It’s a wonderful problem to have when you’re blessed with too much
pitching. In fact, you could argue that it’s no problem at all. That
it’s impossible to be blessed with too many competent hurlers. The
Boston Red Sox are testing that theory.

The Red Sox already have a rotation consisting of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brad Penny and Tim Wakefield.

And on top of that, John Smoltz is set to come off the disabled list
soon. Smoltz reportedly offered to take a bullpen role, but management
is having none of that. They certainly don’t need a closer, and view
Smoltz as a valuable postseason asset as a starter.

Clay Buchholz is getting restless in Pawtucket


So what should Boston do? Tony Massarotti does a great job breaking down the likeliest possibilities, ranging from putting Dice-K on the DL (seems like a good idea), to moving to a six-man rotation (unlikely).

While Theo Epstein and Terry Francona decide what to do, they might
be interested to hear what Clay Buchholz has to say about the matter.

Buchholz apparently is getting tired of dominating Triple-A hitters at
Pawtucket, and while he stopped short of demanding a trade, he’s
starting to sound a little restless.

“Whenever they come to a problem they seem like they find a way to
fix it without me being in the picture. It is what it is. It’s
frustrating at times but I’m going out every fifth day here, trying to
help this team win and trying to get better every day I go out. …

“I want to be in the big leagues and I do want to go somewhere where I’ll be able to play and pitch every fifth day.”

Buchholz has a case, as does his teammate Michael Bowden. If not 100
percent major-league ready, the pair are certainly running out of
things to accomplish in the minors. Their numbers at Pawtucket:

  • Buchholz: 4-0, 1.75 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 15 walks and 59 strikeouts in 67 innings.
  • Bowden: 3-3, 2.48 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 22 walks and 42 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings.

    In contrast to Buchholz, Bowden sounds content for now to remain lost in the logjam.

    “I’d rather stay in the minors an extra year or so to play for Boston, to play in Boston at Fenway with that group of guys.”

    I wonder how long Bowden will keep singing that tune.

  • Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

    PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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    During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

    The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

    The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

    The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

    CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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    The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

    It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

    We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

    While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

    Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.