Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Brandon McCarthy is a free agent, and Boston wants that to change
Mike Napoli isn't a starting pitcher, so it's not shocking that Boston is still looking for someone to fill that particular hole on the second day of the winter meetings. Twitterverse rejoice, because according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser, the Red Sox have been in contact with free agent hurler Brandon McCarthy.
The A's have been in contact with another of their free agents, starter Brandon McCarthy, but expected that there would be strong competition for the right-hander and they're right: The Chronicle has learned that among the clubs already expressing interest are the Red Sox, the White Sox, the Cubs, the Royals, the Diamondbacks and the Twins - and the Angels and Rangers also are expected to join in.
Okay, maybe the celebration is preemptive, given half of the league has called in on him. But Boston has the money and the roster space to do this, and they even have a few former teammates of his, should that be the kind of thing that he's into: Craig Breslow, Jonny Gomes, and Andrew Bailey were all Athletics alongside McCarthy.
The right-handed McCarthy, who owns a 121 ERA+ over the last two seasons, would normally be signing a mutli-year deal, but since he was hit in the head by a line drive and required emergency brain surgery shortly afterward, he's now in line for a proving grounds one-year deal. Again, the Red Sox have the money to beat out anyone else's single-season contract offer, so it likely comes down to how much he wants to remain in Oakland, where his career really took off, versus attempting to get as much money as he can just in case he doesn't prove himself healthy and effective still -- he's made just seven million to this point in his career, so it's a potential factor.
McCarthy's shoulder is also an ongoing concern, as a re-occurring stress fracture has been problematic for a few seasons now. Boston has the pitching depth to absorb a stint on the disabled list, though, between Franklin Morales at the season's start, and possibly Rubby De La Rosa and/or Chris Hernandez later in the year. Also, unlike in 2012, they can actually afford to add another pitcher at the deadline if need be, thanks to the current relatively low payroll.
To read more about Brandon McCarthy, check out his entry in our Off-Season Target series