The Red Sox Bullpen Issue is Being Overlooked

First of all, happy Fourth of July! To celebrate I am going to talk about how the Red Sox bullpen is going to be an issue in October if President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski doesn’t do anything.

Now, Boston does have the fifth best bullpen ERA in baseball (according to espn.com) but that number is misleading as hell. Why? Well because Boston has Craig Kimbrel anchoring the back end, and Steven Wright has had a couple stellar multi-inning relief appearances, which has in turn lowered the team’s bullpen ERA.

I know it seems stupid to be critical of a team with a top five ERA but other than Kimbrel, is there anyone to trust in the Sox pen? No.

There have been flashes from relievers like Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes, but both struggle with command at times and fit the mold of middle-inning relief rather than the set-up role they have had in 2018. Still it isn’t like rookie manager Alex Cora has any better options. After Barnes and Kelly the Sox have Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, Brian Johnson, and Tyler Thornburg. I don’t have faith in any of those guys to come into a playoff game and get guys out when a starter gets stuck in a jam.

I know we have no idea what we are going to get from Thornburg since he hasn’t pitched in the bigs in over a year and a half, but we can’t expect him to be the savior of this team. That is straight up stupid to put that much pressure on a guy who has never pitched for a team other than the small market Brewers.

This is why Dave Dombrowski needs to make a move. He needs to go get someone who will be able to come into high-leverage situations and get guys out.

I still don’t even really trust Dombrowski to get the right guy for two reasons. One, he was never able to build a bullpen for the Tigers during his stint there. Two, the two set-up guys he has acquired for Boston have been Thornburg and Carson Smith. Those two have combined to pitch 21 innings in five combined seasons. Not the best.

Dealin’ Dave was able to get Craig Kimbrel, albeit for a boatload of prospects, but is there another guy on the trade market that has the pedigree that Kimbrel did at the time Dave made a move? No. Brad Hand in San Diego? No postseason experience, and he is playing in a low-intensity environment for the Padres.

The guy I want the Sox to gamble on is Blake Treinen of the Oakland Athletics. He has been lights out this year for the A’s, has postseason experience with the Nationals, and still has a couple years of team control. Treinen could even become Boston’s closer after this season if they decide they don’t want to pay Craig Kimbrel in the offseason. The only issue is Dombrowski has already gotten rid of a lot of the Red Sox’ assets. They don’t have the pieces to get a guy like Treinen or Hand and I am not prepared to let go of a guy like Rafeal Devers for a reliever.

Either way the Sox have to upgrade the bullpen, especially if they have to get through the Yankees and Astros to make it to the World Series.

-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)

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