Although at the beginning of the offseason Red Sox GM Theo Epstein expressed his opinion in say the Sox didn't need to make a lot of moves to improve a team that nearly went to its third World Series in five years, but it seems like Boston has been involved in negotiations with a majority of the big names on the market, most recently: AJ Burnett.
CBS is reporting the rumors are untrue because if they were valid the fireballer would have jumped at the five year deal worth upwards of $85 million; however, I feel as though Burnett might realize the Yankees are more desperate for starting pitching and since they have seemingly bottomless pockets they could possibly produce a bigger offer than the Red Sox, especially if Sabathia signs elsewhere (which is looking more and more likely now the Giants have jumped in on the action and Sabathia himself has said that he would rather pitch in the NL so he can hit, and preferably in his home state of California).
Although I feel like giving Burnett $17 per season is outrageous, I can't help but smirk when I think about a rotation of Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, and Burnett. That said, if I were Epstein I would not sign the soon to be 32 year old right hander. This guy is a clear cut contract year pitcher. Last season he set career highs in wins (18), starts (35), Innings (221.3), and Strikeouts (231). Prior to that, all of his career highs were set in he 2005 (12 wins, 32 starts, 209 innings, 198 Ks), which, coincidentally happens to have been the only other contract year of his career.
Another reason to stay away from the former Blue Jay and Marlin is that in his nine full seasons as a professional, Burnett has endured 10 different trips to the disabled list. Worse yet, there have only been 3 years that the nine year veteran has not found himself spending extended time injured. In translation, if you play the averages game, and the Red Sox sign Mr.Burnett to a five year deal, you're looking at getting a healthy 85 million dollar pitcher for two full seasons.
As tempting as it is to go after a big name free agent, as GM I would prefer to see Clay Buchholz be given the 5th spot in the rotation starting in April. I know you're rolling your eyes last year because the kid struggled mightily, posting a 2-9 record with a 6.75 ERA, but he is still only one year removed from his impressive debut with the Sox where his numbers were a more than impressive 3-1 record, 1.59 ERA, with 22 Ks in 22 innings. Don't forget that young pitchers don't always throw well right out of the gate. If you remember back to Lester's first year in the bigs his ERA was nearly 5.00. We'd all be kicking ourselves if we gave up on him after that debacle, now wouldn't we?