Look, I am all for giving Smoltz another start. He definitely has the velocity now (hitting 92-93 on his fastball yesterday). But his pitches move about as much as a Shaker under the bedcovers. And if he gets rocked again, the Sox are going to be hurting.
But is the answer Roy Halladay? Or, if Boston really does need pitching, should they instead be looking at the back end of the rotation?
Here are a couple of pitchers that should be available:
Bronson Arroyo - Reds: Cincy is all but out of it and Arroyo is available. Cincy wants to move him because his contract swells next year. He's a lefty. And, oh yes, didn't he used to play here?
Arroyo can handle a Boston playoff atmosphere, something that is critical for any pitcher that comes to Boston (re: Jeff Suppan). He likes the town and the fans like him. The one possible problem is that $11M that Arroyo is due next year. But the Sox could handle that. Bottom line: Arroyo has double-digit wins in five of his last six years. The Sox could use that in the fifth slot.
Zach Duke - Pirates: Hey, it's another Pittsburgh fire sale as The Rebuilding: Part XX takes place this summer. Pretty much everyone but a handful of players are up for grabs if the price is right. Duke is a hard-throwing lefty who has good stuff but has suffered under a team in constant flux and a poor bullpen for much of his career. His lifetime record (35-48) is not indicative of his talent as a pitcher. He can eat innings as well. Other possibilities from Pittsburgh include two former starters now in AAA; Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny. Snell has been getting looks from the Yankees as of late.
And here's one that likely isn't available but wouldn't be a bad pickup.
Luke Hochevar - Royals: The Kansas City right-hander was mentioned in numerous trade scenarios over the winter. Only 25 years old, he is also one of two Royals' starters with a winning record (Greinke being the other). He's only in his third major-league season but could fit in nicely as a fifth starter with the Sox. Hell, the only starting Boston pitcher with a lower WHIP than Hochevar (1.25) is Beckett (1.14). For the record, Smoltz's is 1.53 and climbing.
Any of these three arms wouldn't cost the Sox a ransom; the most expensive would likely be Hochevar. By taking on Arroyo's salary, the Sox could probably get him for next to nothing. But all three pitchers would provide the Sox with a reliable arm at the back of the rotation and give them some needed depth in pitching while preserving their big trading chips for a bat.