when Cherington and the Red Sox tackle the rebuilding program, they do not see landing an “ace” as part of that task. In fact, it’s not even essential.
“We just want to be good,” said Cherington before last night’s game. “We need to build a good team, we need to win games. There’s different ways to do that. It’s nice to have an ace at the top of the rotation, but you can be good in different ways. We’ve had really good teams without that.”
Cherington was not saying yesterday that the Red Sox would not benefit from an ace. His comment, however, suggests strongly the team remains leery of long-term, big-money commitments to starters on the wrong side of 30. This is nothing new. The Red Sox have been preaching fiscal restraint ever since their payroll-shedding blockbuster with the Dodgers two Augusts ago.
The Red Sox were in terrible shape then with proven aces or near aces Lester and John Lackey, and they are back to terrible with those two now gone.
When the Sox look near the top of the standings, they see the Orioles and the Brewers and the Pirates and even the Yankees, with Brandon McCarthy atop their rotation, as ace-less teams.
In the Braves (with Julio Teheran) or the Angels (with Garrett Richards), they see aces who blossomed in-season versus an ace those teams were leaning on in April.
“There are plenty of teams that are contenders this year, teams that will be in the playoffs that don’t have that (ace),” said Cherington. “We just have to build a good team. We have to build a team that can win games. We know pitching’s a big part of that. There’s different ways of building a pitching staff.”