We're just three weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting, and the Red Sox are still (hopefully) on the hunt for another legitimate starting pitcher to solidify the back end of their rotation.
While options such as Paul Maholm and Hiroki Kuroda have long since gone by the wayside, a few options still remain open to the Red Sox. It's just that, as of right now, most of them aren't looking terribly promising.
There's Roy Oswalt, who seemed to top the Red Sox' list for a while, and was apparently the motivation behind the Marco Scutaro salary dump. But as much as the Sox like Oswalt, Oswalt doesn't appear to like the Sox too much. With his heart apparently set on either St. Louis or Texas, the free agent has already turned down an offer from Detroit--one which, at $10 million, is likely better than any the Sox could make.
If not Oswalt, then how about Edwin Jackson?
Well, that doesn't seem too likely either. According to Ken Rosenthal, Jackson actually does have a few multi-year offers on the table. Of course, there are plenty of teams and places where a starting pitcher wouldn't be interested in getting stuck long-term, but even if Jackson is looking to stay somewhere on a short-term deal with an eye to making a return to free agency with a better market, the Red Sox wouldn't make much sense. Much as Scott Boras knew that Fenway was the right place for Adrian Beltre to go to rebuild his value, he knows that it's the last place a pitcher should be headed if he wants to cash in big later on.
That pretty much just leaves the trade market open to Boston, with Gavin Floyd being the most popular name. While it seems like Floyd is a backup option right now, there's reason to wonder how possible any deal will be for the Sox if Oswalt and Jackson go elsewhere. Kenny Williams will know what it means if those two go elsewhere, and his asking price could rise beyond the point the Sox are willing to pay.Given the current situation with Oswalt and Jackson, it would make sense for Boston to be pushing hard right about now, but there's no indication that's the case. Given the rumors that the Sox are only offering $5 million to the free agents, he could even be out of their price range to begin with.
There is one ray of hope, however. As Matt mentioned earlier today, Bud Selig has taken over the Theo Epstein compensation talks, and according to Nick Cafardo at least one AL GM is expecting a significant return for the Sox. I'm not saying we should expect Matt Garza to be left outside Fenway wrapped up with a bow, but it's possible that this gives them the leverage they need to pull off a deal at a reduced cost, or to pick up someone like a Randy Wells. It's hardly a sure thing, but at this point it would be foolish to leave any stone unturned.