The Red Sox reportedly had interest in Max Scherzer this past offseason. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

A look at how Red Sox starting rotation took shape (and why it doesn't include Max Scherzer, James Shields)

Rob Bradford
February 16, 2015 - 6:36 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The entire Red Sox starting rotation -- Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Joe Kelly -- walked out to the back fields at Fenway South Monday, ready to partake in another day of drills and throwing. It is still five days before the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers, and the entire group has already been roaming the JetBlue Park fields in their Red Sox garb for at least a few days. Cole Hamels rumors or not, this potentially ace-less collection has already dug in on believing they are all the Red Sox need. "Of course you want to ride with the group we have," Kelly said. "I don'€™t know if anybody has paid any attention to that. I think everybody'€™s so new here our minds are focused on coming in here, focusing in on spring training and having a good year. But pitching is pitching and we'€™ll see how it shapes up for all five of us. ... If everybody had their career year, we would be unstoppable." Unless the Phillies' price drops, the Red Sox are also dug in on this bunch. So, how did they arrive at such a rotation? According to major league sources, here are some particulars about the Red Sox' approach to picking these pieces: -- The Red Sox did have interest in free agent Max Scherzer, actually valuing him as much as Jon Lester. But after numerous discussions with Scherzer's agent, Scott Boras, it became clear the righty's price tag was going to be too big for the Red Sox' to swallow. According to one source, at no point during the offseason did Boras hint that he was concerned Scherzer wouldn't get his money, potentially leading to a more palatable reduced rate. In the end, the former Tigers hurler inked a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals. -- The Red Sox did meet with free agent James Shields at the winter meetings, but never identified the starter as a great fit. It was determined by the organization that pitching home games at Fenway Park might not be the best avenue for Shields, who carries a career record of 2-9 with a 5.42 ERA. The money Shields ultimately got with the Padres -- four years, $75 million with a fifth year club option for $16 million -- was in the vicinity of the Red Sox anticipated. -- While it the moves to acquire both Wade Miley and Rick Porcello almost immediately after Lester signed with the Cubs appeared to be a reaction to missing out on the lefty, both acquisitions were already pretty much in place with or without Lester. The Miley deal had been worked on since the GM meetings a month before, and with Detroit needing to maneuver its roster, the impetus to acquire an outfielder (Yoenis Cespedes) while freeing up some room in the rotation became a priority for Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski in the waning hours of the winter meetings. (The Red Sox were also wary of the Tigers potentially flipping Cespedes to the Orioles, who had shown interest in trading for the outfielder earlier in the offseason.) -- If Lester did re-sign with the Red Sox, Masterson might have been the odd man out. It shouldn't be forgotten, however, the relationship between the former Indians ace and his former pitching coach (and current Red Sox manager) John Farrell. Even after the Sox' 2009 trade of Masterson, the two kept in touch on a regular basis.

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