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Who will be the Boston Red Sox fifth starter in 2015?

Based off of his strong performance late in 2014, Allen Webster may find himself taking the hill every five days in 2015 Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Based off of his strong performance late in 2014, Allen Webster may find himself taking the hill every five days in 2015
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After seeing the Boston Red Sox play after the trade deadline in 2015, one thing is clear -- they need starting pitching. It seems set in stone that they will pursue two starters and those two men seem to be James Shields and Cole Hamels.Still though, with Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz set to be the three and four starters, the team will head into 2015 with an open spot in the rotation which may result in a position battle.Many different pitchers started games for the Red Sox in 2014, so let's take a look and see who may earn a role as the number five starter next season.

Some candidates for the job include: Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Edwin Escobar Anthony Ranaudo, Steven Wright, Henry Owens, Matt Barnes, and Rubby De La Rosa.

Now given that Escobar, Barnes and Owens all have never started an MLB game and Owens has never pitched in one for that matter, these three seem to be the easiest to eliminate. Still though, it is a long shot but it is certainly possible for one of them to get the job.

Although knuckleballer Steven Wright pitched well in his lone start of the season, he may be best suited for the bullpen. Despite tossing five scoreless frames against the Yankees, Wright has the makings of a mop-up man as he has saved the Red Sox' bullpen time and time again when called upon in that role.

Proving ineffective deep in outings and much more effective as a reliever, Brandon Workman may be a better fit for the bullpen as well. Posting a 5.36 ERA in 15 starts, Workman was much better in his four outings as a reliever in which he allowed just two runs on 6.1 innings of work. Not to mention he tossed 8.2 scoreless frames in the 2013 postseason, all of which came in relief. Workman may find himself being used as a seventh inning guy in 2015.

Despite winning the AAA equivalent of the Cy Young Award, Anthony Ranaudo looked over matched in big league competition. Sure he went 4-3, but record is a useless stat. He walked 16 while striking out 15 men and allowed ten homers in seven starts on the year. Ranaudo is definitely in contention for a spot in the Red Sox rotation, but ultimately, it does not seem like he will win out the battle.

Dominican flamethrower Rubby De La Rosa pitched productively in 2014, but fatigue caught up to him late in the year. Allowing fifteen earned runs over his four starts of the season, De La Rosa still managed to post a 4.43 ERA on the year while punching out 74 men in 101.2 frames. De La Rosa who was once considered a lock for the job as a fifth starter is still an excellent candidate for the job. If not, he would be a great addition to the Red Sox bullpen as he tops out in the triple digits, perhaps even as a future closer.

Last but not least, Allen Webster is a promising candidate for the job. Despite a lack of command walking 28 men and plunking another seven while punching out 36 in 59 frames, Webster may just be the man for the job. He allowed just three homeruns in 11 starts and his pitching improved as the year went on. Despite posting a 5.03 ERA on the year, Webster allowed seven earned runs on 24 innings of work over the course of his final four starts of the season while walking five men and striking out 15. With this improvement in mind, Allen Webster may be the most likely candidate to win the job of them all.

As Opening Day is less than six months away, the Boston Red Sox have plenty of candidates who may or may not find themselves in the big league rotation next season. For those who do not, they too have a future in Red Sox — perhaps in the bullpen.