The Red Sox have been involved in plenty of rumors this season as both buyers and sellers. One of the more recent and intriguing of these rumors is that the Red Sox are interested in Rockies’ reliever Rafael Betancourt, according to MLB Trade Rumors. The Red Sox haven’t had a problem with their bullpen since the first few weeks of the season, as they lead baseball with a 2.10 bullpen ERA since April 23. However, adding a bona fide reliever and a potential closer certainly wouldn’t hurt as they enter the stretch run.
The Rockies have struggled mightily this season– limping into the second half with a 34-53 record and tied for last in the NL West. However, Betancourt has been a bright spot all year in the back of their bullpen. After spending the last two and a half seasons with several good seasons in the Rockies’ bullpen, the trade of Huston Street to San Diego opened up the closer role for Betancourt. Since then, he’s done nothing to say he shouldn’t be their closer as he’s gone 1-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 15 saves.
However, it’s difficult to say where he would fit into the Red Sox’ bullpen. Current closer Alfredo Aceves‘ stats don’t look so good at 0-6 with a 4.23 ERA but he’s been fairly solid in saving 20/24 chances. Betancourt could fit in as a setup man in that case, but Scott Atchison (2-1/1.76 ERA), Andrew Miller (2-1/3.05 ERA), Matt Albers (2-0/2.27 ERA), and Mark Melancon (0-0/0.66 ERA since his recall) have all done well there this season. Plus, Andrew Bailey should be returning to the Red Sox in somewhere around a month.
Betancourt is a good pitcher, no doubt. However, that also means that it would probably take a pretty good deal to get him– perhaps something along the lines of Jose Iglesias and Stolmy Pimentel. With the Red Sox’ bullpen performing like they’ve been lately, I don’t think there’s a good reason to spend good prospects to upgrade their bullpen. I’d obviously be happy if the Red Sox could acquire Betancourt at the right price– however, I’d be happier if they didn’t get him and spent those prospects on starting pitching instead.