Injuries to designated closers are piling up around the majors with Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants being the latest victim. Wilson, who often depicts as though he’s a few bricks short of a load, may need Tommy John Surgery on his throwing elbow which would force him to miss the rest of the 2012 season. Wilson would join Andrew Bailey of the Red Sox, Kyle Farnsworth of the Rays and Ryan Madson of the Reds on the list of closers who will miss significant playing time this season due to injury and could force the Giants to add another bullpen piece for their stretch run.
You could probably even throw in the Yankees as potential buyers for bullpen help, so if the Sox are even remotely considering looking for help in the pen, the time is now rather than the July deadline when the price on good, quality relievers is surely to skyrocket.
Mike Gonzalez is the first name that comes to mind. He is the most noticeable and in all honesty the most reliable arm still available on the free-agent market. His durability does bring concern along with his high contract demands, making him a gamble for any club. But with so many teams looking for help, surely someone will take a chance on him.
After the first three games in Detroit, Red Sox fans were screaming for Daniel Bard to be summoned to the bullpen to help stop the bleeding, myself included. It’s amazing what a couple of wins will do to a greaving fanbase. Alfredo Aceves appears to have settled in nicely and refound his control that makes him so effective on the mound. While Mark Melancon is still an instant headache as soon as he takes to the rubber, other internal candidates could be the solution instead of going out and making a deal with another club. Guys like Vicente Padilla and Scott Atchison have shown promise in his young season as has Franklin Morales. With Andrew Miller and Rich Hill inching closer to returning, additional help is on the horizon from the bowels of the organization.
Keep in mind that both Daisuke Matsuzaka and Andrew Bailey are penciled in to return after the all-star break, giving the Red Sox a plethora of pitching arms. By that time the cream will be separated from the wheat, proving which arms will be reliable for the stretch run and which will become expendable via the trade market.
Maybe the time isn’t now for the Red Sox to make any sudden moves with their bullpen. Maybe sitting tight and seeing how things play out over the next few months is the proper course of action. Of course that will suffice providing the club can tread water and keep pace in the AL East over that time. If things should go south again, then a deal to bolster the bullpen will be required to help this club straighten out and fly right.
Topics: Alfredo Aceves, Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller, Boston Red Sox, Brian Wilson, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daniel Bard, Franklin Morales, Kyle Farnsworth, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill, Ryan Madson, San Francisco Giants, Scott Atchison, Vicente Padilla