Three Realistic Bullpen Options The Red Sox Should Acquire
By Conor Duffy
In case you haven’t been watching a whole lot of Red Sox baseball lately, they haven’t been doing well. There are many reasons as to why they are not doing well, but the most glaring of these has been the lack of depth in their bullpen. They lost Andrew Bailey to injury before the season even started and early season implosions of Mark Melancon and Alfredo Aceves have lost the Red Sox multiple games. Before the games lost by their bullpen increases, the Red Sox need to make a move– the sooner the better. I’ve done a bit of research about potential (realistic, too!) trade options the Red Sox could use.
Jesse Crain– When a team is in a rebuilding phase– often, one of the first things they do is to trade their bullpen pieces for young value. The White Sox are just entering what looks to be a long, painful rebuilding phase and one of the bright spots on their team is Jesse Crain. Crain will probably be traded to get some value as a contender would be likely to want a reliever who still has a year left on his contract. Crain is a guy who could really help the Red Sox right now. He is off to a nice start this year with a 3.00 ERA in five outings (six innings) but his true value is as a guy who can compete day in and day out. In the past two seasons, he has thrown in 67 and 71 games, respectively, and has had ERA’s of 2.62 and 3.04 those seasons. To get Crain, the Sox would probably have to give up some young outfield talent: perhaps OF Alex Hassan and LHP Drake Britton would do the trick for Crain.
Frank Francisco– The Mets are another team about to enter a rebuilding phase– but unlike the White Sox, the Mets have quite a strong bullpen. One of the key members of their 2012 bullpen will be new acquisition Frank Francisco. Francisco has shown that he can handle pressure in both the closer role and the AL East– working as the Blue Jays’ closer last year with a 3.55 ERA and 17 saves in 54 games. Like Crain, he can handle the day in and day out life of being a reliever– he has worked 50+ games each year since 2007. Francisco is expected to be the Mets’ closer this year and so far has impressed with a 3.60 ERA and three saves in three chances. To get Francisco, the Sox would likely have to part with some starting pitching or middle infield prospects like 2B Oscar Tejeda and RHP Brandon Workman.
Evan Meek– When it comes to rebuilding phases, the Pirates are experienced veterans and almost none of their young talent lasts past free agency. This means that Evan Meek will likely be departing from the Steel City soon. Meek has enjoyed a successful career as the Pirates’ setup man over the past few seasons. He is off to a shaky start this year with a 5.40 ERA in five games this year– but batters have only hit .200 off of him. Last season he had some success at 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA through 24 games before going down with multiple injuries with his throwing shoulder. Just because of the success in his career (2.14 ERA in 71 games in 2010), Meek may be the most expensive trade option; currently the Pirates should be looking at prospects for catching and pitching: Alex Wilson may do the trick.
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