If performance alone is not enough for the Boston Red Sox to add a couple of starting pitchers to their roster, perhaps they should check and see how FanGraphs.com projects their starting rotation to perform.
Of the six most likely candidates to start for Boston next season (Joe Kelly, Clay Buchholz, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman), the site projects that they make 160 starts combined and post an ERA of 4.73 on 960 innings of work which works out to be exactly six innings a game.
For a starting pitcher a 4.73 ERA is not particularly bad, but it is not great. A team can afford to have maybe one man with an ERA above that mark if the rotation is anchored with four great starting pitchers. To put it this way, no starting pitcher on the 2013 Boston Red Sox team had an ERA higher than 4.57 (Ryan Dempster) while the team ERA as a whole was 3.79.
In theory if the Red Sox starting pitchers did in fact post a 4.73 ERA in 162 starts on the year, in order for the team as a whole to post a 3.79 ERA the bullpen would need to need to post a 1.92 ERA in 486 innings of work. The odds of that happening are slim-to-none.
Joe Kelly projects to post a 4.75 ERA in 31 starts.
Clay Buchholz projects to post a 4.28 ERA in 30 starts.
Rubby De La Rosa projects to post a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts.
Allen Webster is projected to post a 5.01 ERA in 25 starts
Anthony Ranaudo is projected to post a 5.27 ERA in 20 starts.
Brandon Workman is projected to post a 4.59 ERA in 25 starts on the year.
Although these projections may not be entirely accurate, it gives one a good idea of how much the Red Sox could use some starting pitching. Odds are Joe Kelly will pitch much better than projected, but even still it would not be a stellar rotation. If the team could add one or two starters, they will be set for the 2015 season.
If one of these men is Jon Lester, then they are golden.