Gavin Floyd of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Jon Morosi tweets that the Red Sox are still looking at Gavin Floyd of the White Sox. As Chicago can't quite decide if it's rebuilding, reloading, or just running around in circles, there's no indication of how likely a Floyd-to-Boston deal is. But it is likely Floyd would be someone Boston is into to fill that fourth-starter slot.
Floyd is in that realm of good, not great starting pitchers. But that's exactly the kind of arm the Red Sox could use. He strikes out a few more batters than average, keeps the free passes to a minimum, but occasionally has long ball issues that unravel his good work. Of course, part of the blame for that can be placed on his home park of US Cellular, one of the friendlier parks for homers in the AL, but not all, as Floyd has had fairly even home/road splits in terms of homers over the years.
He has had FIP of 3.77, 3.46, and 3.81 the last three years. He's also failed to match his FIP over that stretch, with 4.06, 4.08, and 4.37 ERA in the same span. The answer for his true ability is likely somewhere in the middle. The better news is he has averaged 31 starts over the last four years, something only one of Boston's starters, Jon Lester (32), has accomplished over the same time period. If there is one thing Boston's rotation has missed the last few years, it's an ability to stay on the mound.
Floyd is owed just $7 million in 2012, and has a 2013 option for $9.5 million. He's in that realm where he is good enough to pay when under team control, but also good enough to let him walk down the road when he's eligible for free agency. The scarcity of the market means he will demand (and probably receive) a contract that pays him handsomely, meaning the Red Sox could safely offer him the qualifying contract necessary under the new collective bargaining agreement in order to receive draft picks in return for his exit.
That would give Boston two years of Floyd if they so choose, at just $16.5 million, and with the potential for draft picks in their future if they extend a one-year qualifying offer to him before 2014.
There has been no word about what the White Sox want, but it's Kenny Williams we're talking about: trying to guess is probably a futile exercise. What we do know, though, is that the White Sox farm system is nearly bereft of talent. They might be in the market for quantity over quality, a notion that means Boston might be able to send more lottery tickets to Chicago, rather than one big one. It's not a guarantee, of course, but likely is something that would be explored.
This means someone like Felix Doubront, who is out of options, has potential, but maybe doesn't have a place on a Red Sox roster that features a full bullpen, plenty of possible starter options, and the left-handed Franklin Morales ahead of him on the depth chart. He still might be able to start, but it's not going to happen in Boston, and the White Sox are in a position to take that chance on him, much like the Astros with Kyle Weiland. Doubront alone isn't enough, obviously, but he's a piece who could be moved, especially since his exit would open up a 40-man spot for Floyd in Boston.
Doubront isn't the only 40-man player Boston might be better off moving, but even the White Sox probably aren't jumping at the chance to secure Michael Bowden or Lars Anderson. It's more likely Doubront would be packaged with prospects from the low minors, where Boston believes their depth to be.
This is just a theory, of course -- the White Sox might be looking for a big-time prospect or prospects for Floyd, and balk at Boston's attempts to avoid handing over the keys to the farm. It's worth exploring, though, and, at the least, discussions with Floyd and the potential winnowing of job opportunities might lead someone like Roy Oswalt to back down from a guaranteed contract demand, and settle for a strong base and incentives due to his balky back.
Chances are good we won't know until the Red Sox finish up some more of their arbitration discussions, as then they will know what money there is left to play with, but it's good to see Boston is still in the market to improve the rotation.