Red Sox rotation deep even without Dempster

Red Sox rotation deep even without Dempster

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before Ryan Dempster told the Red Sox he wouldn't be pitching this season, the club had six established starters vying for five spots.

But even after Dempster announced his decision on Sunday, Boston still has plenty of depth in the rotation.

Barring injuries, Boston will open the season with a starting five of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront.

If there is an injury or downturn in performance from anyone in that group, the Red Sox can turn to their young depth, which includes Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Henry Owens.

"Other guys we're going to look to get multiple innings and stretch out [during camp] will be Brandon Workman for one, we've got Allen Webster, De La Rosa, [Drake] Britton," said manager John Farrell. "And then the other three young guys we have, Owens, Ranaudo and Barnes, we've got a good core group or good young group of what we feel are strong prospects. They're long on talent and they're short on experience. We feel confident with the talent that's here."

The one thing Dempster's departure does create for the Red Sox is some payroll space. He was due to make $13.25 million in 2014, meaning Boston might have more flexibility to re-sign shortstop Stephen Drew, who remains a free agent.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.