The Red Sox did not get Cole Hamels. That's exciting news for some, disappointing for others, but regardless of which side you fall on, everyone can agree that the Sox need more -- and better -- pitching. They're working on it with a number of teams at the moment, as Nick Cafardo reports that Boston has been in contact with the A's, Indians, Padres, and Mets about their young pitching.
What's intriguing about this isn't just the number of teams, but which pitchers the Red Sox are targeting: They are not aiming low. Sure, Andrew Cashner and his 2016 are in the mix, as well as Carlos Carrasco -- whose FIP you should probably ignore since FIP doesn't know what poor command is -- but this is mostly a list of high-quality arms. Tyson Ross is one, Corey Kluber is another -- a pipe dream, but hey, you gotta dream sometimes -- and most intriguing, Sonny Gray is there, too.
Cafardo says it would take "a small fortune of prospects" to obtain Gray, or one of Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard from the Mets. Given how the Mets hug their young players harder than anyone else -- to the point where someone at a Red Sox site can say this semi-critically and get away with it -- you knew that already. Gray, though, is in the possession of a reasonable team, with a reasonable general manager in charge. The A's probably wouldn't deal their young ace now, but come winter time, they might look to make him the pitching version of Josh Donaldson, using him to reload on the farm and add some more talent to the big-league roster.
Beane has his specific tastes in players, and generally goes for the prospects that aren't necessarily big-league ready or already highly recognized -- he's the kind of GM who would look for the next Mookie Betts instead of asking for Mookie himself. The Sox have a whole lot of low-level prospects to speak of -- Rafael Devers, for instance, as well as Manuel Margot, who only recently jumped to Doube-A -- and if they aren't going to sign an ace, they're going to need to give up a whole bunch of kids to get one. Maybe there is a deal there, even if it won't happen before the July 31 deadline.
Even if it's not Gray, it's comforting to see the Sox aren't running in place and are actively attempting to reshape their rotation for 2016 at this early stage. Between a potential acquisition and the soon-to-occur promotions of Brian Johnson and Henry Owens, Boston's rotation is at least going to look pretty different, pretty soon.