Boston's 'anchormen' question

Updated: January 13, 2011, 12:17 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Count me among the folks who thought that the 2010 Red Sox would have an excellent rotation, after Boston signed John Lackey to join Josh Beckett and Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz. But in the end, the Red Sox finished 17th in starters' ERA, despite the fact that Lester and Buchholz were candidates for the Cy Young Award.

Lackey had a 4.84 ERA at the end of May, and opponents posted a .339 on-base percentage, which matches the highest of his career. And Beckett had the worst season of his career, posting a 5.78 ERA. Beckett and Lackey were difference-makers for the Red Sox last season -- and not in a good way.

Boston has added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford this winter, and the Red Sox are widely seen in front offices around baseball as the team to beat. But Beckett and Lackey again will have the power to elevate Boston, or sink it, depending on how they pitch.

With spring training a month away, this is how the Red Sox view Lackey: