Remember when the Sox rotation was in good shape?

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Remember when the Sox rotation was in good shape?

"The Red Sox appear to have the top of their rotation set for the next five years. The rest of it is in pretty good shape, too."

I was Googling around this morning, trying to brush up on the details of Josh Becketts wildly-depressing contract, when I came across this lead. Its from an AP story that was published on April 5, 2010, the day after Beckett signed his four-year, 68M extension with the Sox.

Funny how perfect it all looked back then. With Beckett re-signed, John Lackey inked for five years and Jon LesterClay Buchholz under control through 2014, we all thought the Sox had it made. If nothing else, they'd always have pitching. One of the best staffs in the AL, in fact.

"It's hard to have an elite organization without excellent starting pitching," Theo Epstein said at the time. "When you have that starting pitching, you don't want to let it get away. It's hard to acquire in free agency. It's hard to acquire in trades. And it's hard to draft and develop this kind of starting pitching. ... That's the biggest building block on which we can go about finishing off the rest of the club."

Ugh.

It's crazy how much things can changed in a few years, but no doubt that they have. There's no doubt that the core that was supposed to carry this team through these last three seasons and beyond is now the biggest hurdle standing between the Sox and success. Beckett and Lackey have piled up their nine years150M and defecated on it. Lester's regressed. I don't think any of us are ready to count him out, but we never imagined this. Buchholz is hard to beat when he's healthy and focused, but that's only come in spurts. Right now, he's great. But how long will that hold up?
Of course, this is nothing new. Like I said, we're now in our third season of watching this "elite" pitching staff underachieve and sabotage Boston's hopes. While we once beamed at the prospect of their time together, we're now left begging for it to end . . .

While simultaneously fearing that it won't.

I mean, at this point, will anyone be surprised if they're all back next season? If somehow, the Sox justify keeping Beckett and Lackey in the mix? I won't be. And in turn, won't be surprised if this team continues to crumble. Like Theo Epstein said: "It's hard to have an elite organization without excellent starting pitching."

Right now, the Sox have neither.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Carrabis: Red Sox have nothing to lose calling Moncada up now

Carrabis: Red Sox have nothing to lose calling Moncada up now

Jared Carrabis and Lou Merloni join SNC to discuss the Boston Red Sox calling up top prospect Yoan Moncada, and how they think the Sox should use him.

Red Sox will call up No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada on Friday

Red Sox will call up No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada on Friday

The season-long awaited arrival of Yoan Moncada to Boston has finally come with Wednesday night announcement of the Red Sox’ prospect being called up for Friday.

John Farrell alluded to potentially promoting the 21-year-old in his press conference prior to Wednesday’s game, remarking that the team needed “better production” at third base -- Moncada’s new home.

“The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes,” Farrell said before Wednesday’s win. “Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

He’ll be formally added Friday as a September call-up, and cannot be added Thursday because Boston has the day off.

Moncada will also be eligible for the playoffs with the call-up, with the Wednesday night midnight deadline not applying because Moncada was already part of Boston’s organization.

Ranked the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, Moncada played for both Single-A Salem and, most recently, Double-A Portland this season. In his 44 games with Portland, Moncada hit .285 (49-for-172) with 11 home runs, six doubles, three triples and 27 RBI. Moncada was also 9-for-13 in stolen base attempts for the Seadogs.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. 

"Without saying that [Moncada's promotion] is a definite, there's a lot [of positives] going for it.''

Moncada joins Andrew Benintendi to get the call to the Red Sox straight from Portland. Prior to Benintendi’s injury, the 22-year-old was batting .324 (22-for-68) with eight extra-base hits.
 
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar