The deadline for Masahiro Tanaka to sign with an MLB team is three weeks from today. The competition for his services will be fierce, but one team you can count out of the race is the Red Sox. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe says that while Boston is impressed with the righty, they are not expected to pursue him.

The Red Sox are one of the few teams in baseball with six starters for five spots: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster. There has been speculation that once Tanaka, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana are off the market, the Sox will look to flip one of their spare starters for a young player, maybe someone who can play the left side of the infield. Lackey and Peavy have been mentioned as the most likely to relocate.

Of course, pitching depth has a way of disappearing very quickly. Lester threw a career high 248 innings last season (regular season plus playoffs) while Lackey threw 215 1/3 total innings one year after having Tommy John surgery. Dempster has plenty of experience pitching out of the bullpen in his career and the club could keep him around as a swingman/spot starter just to protect themselves in case one of the top five break down.