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Red Sox discussing Wade Miley trade with Diamondbacks

Miley doesn't solve the problems at the top of the rotation, but luckily for the Red Sox, they have holes all over theirs. Hey, wait.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox need to find someone to top their rotation, and that's been the major focus of the offseason to this point, but let's not forget that the middle and back-end of the rotation are also in need of upgrades: the only pitchers on the roster at this moment who probably should be in 2015's rotation are Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz. The Sox have not forgotten this, as they are in active trade discussions for Diamondbacks' pitcher Wade Miley, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The Marlins are also discussing Miley with Arizona.

Miley produced a 115 ERA+ for the D-Backs over 62 starts and 65 appearances in 2012 and 2013, but saw his ERA jump in 2014. He still got over 51 percent grounders, though, and struck out over eight batters per nine for the first time in his career: the issue seemed to be that his batting average on balls in play jumped up about 20 points from the previous two seasons, which is explained away easily enough by a poor defensive infield featuring an aging Aaron Hill, just half-a-season of Martin Prado, and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who is around because he's capable of leading the league in offense, not because of his defense. Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings combined for high-quality defense at shortstop, but that's just one position doing their job effectively: the Diamondbacks finished 28th in the league in Defensive Efficiency, which for the uninitiated means they were one of the worst teams at converting balls in play into outs even with that combo at short.

Conversely, the Red Sox have sure-handed Mike Napoli at first, one of the better defensive third basemen around in Pablo Sandoval, and arguably the game's best at second in Dustin Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts is a question mark at shortstop, sure, but he's not awful, like multiple D-Backs were this past summer. That, combined with Miley's past, breeds some easy optimism about his future.

Miley is also under team control for the next three seasons, as 2015 happens to be his first year of arbitration eligibility. This doesn't disqualify Yoenis Cespedes from being the centerpiece of the deal, as the D-Backs would love to add another bat and useful defender to the mix, but it all depends on if they are shooting for 2015 or not. Moving Miley and his three years of team control suggests they are looking to build towards the future with one of the few chips they have, which means he would require prospects in return rather than a one-year rental. The Sox have plenty of prospects, though, and they have holes in their rotation that need plugging, so this is a fit that makes sense for both sides. Cespedes is tied up in negotiations elsewhere, anyway, and again, the Sox do need more than one pitcher.

It's possible the Red Sox can convert some of their major-league ready arms who aren't quite cut out to be American League starters into Miley. Someone like Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, or Brandon Workman packaged with some kids on the position player side. The Diamondbacks are completely under new management, from the dugout to the executive offices, so there is no history here to look back upon and inform our guesses. All we know to this point, through Rosenthal, is that the D-Backs have heard enough from the offers they've received that they're seriously considering moving Miley. The Red Sox could use him, both now and later, and have the pieces to pry him from the D-Backs to boot.