I’m confused. I thought the Boston Red Sox rotation for 2010 was already set.

Los Angeles pitcher John Lackey (L) is pulled from the game by Angels manager Mike Scioscia (R) as catcher Jeff Mathis watches during the seventh inning in Game 5 of their Major League Baseball ALCS playoff series against the New York Yankees in Anaheim, California October 22, 2009 - Reuters PhotoWe already know that Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield will be in the starting rotation in 2010. So what’s the pressing need for John Lackey?

According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have interest in Lackey and have met with his agent. According to Silverman, the Red Sox are just gauging their interest right now.

Could Theo Epstein have something up his sleeve in regards to a trade for a bat? With Jed Hoyer now in San Diego as the Padres general manager, it’s quite possible there could be some dialogue there. The question remains will Hoyer move Gonzalez?

But if the Red Sox become players in the sweepstakes for Gonzalez or anyone for that matter, they would need a backup plan for starting pitching. Most likely Hoyer and any other general manager the Red Sox become involved with in trade talks will want Buchholz. The Red Sox have always said that Buchholz would be off-limits in any trade but this could prove different with a bat like the one Gonzalez possesses.

Lackey is the top free agent pitcher on the market this offseason. It’s rumored that he turned down $72 million contract extension from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and that he wants more money than what A.J. Burnett got from the New York Yankees (5 years, $82.5 million). We can also expect the Yankees to be heavily involved as well.

He would definitely fill a need should the Red Sox trade Buchholz and also if the Red Sox are unable to work out a contract extension with Beckett, who is set to be a free agent after the 2010 season.

It looks like the Hot Stove is heating up quickly and on November 20th, it will get even hotter when all free agents are allowed to with any team.