The Red Sox have been playing better baseball of late, and the next couple of series before the July 31st non waiver trade deadline will be a huge test to see if they will be buyers or sellers at that point in the season. The offense started to produce like many thought it would at one point or another.
Their starting pitching has been OK but the club could use another quality arm, especially in the absence of right hander Clay Buchholz who has emerged as one of the best pitchers in baseball this season.
The bullpen, however is the the worst part of this squad. Craig Breslow has not been anything close to his 2013 form, Matt Barnes was recently optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket, and Tommy Layne and Alexi Ogando have been OK.
Closer Koji Uehara has been fantastic this year, looking like his 2013 self. Set up man Junichi Tazawa has been remarkably consistent as well. Other than that, the bullpen has been ranked among the worst in baseball.
The Sox’ relievers rank 26th with a 7.66 K/9 and 28th in GB% with a 39.5% clip. The relievers rank 23rd in ERA as well as WHIP.
If the Sox want to make a move at the deadline, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman should be on their radar. The 6-foot four-inch 200 lb left-handed flame thrower is under a one-year, $8.5 million contract.
This season, Chapman is one of the best pitchers in the game again. His 15.67 K/9 ranks first in baseball. He is second in the game with 65 strikeouts while holding opposing batters to a .175 batting average against.
An All-Star in each of the last four seasons, the Cuban Missile has been ridiculously great/consistent throughout his career. He has posted a 2.23 ERA as well as a 1.94 FIP so far in his career.
Chapman has saved 131 games for Cincinnati while striking out 495 batters. His 15.36 K/9 clip along with his .150 opponent batting average would greatly help this bullpen.
Once he tests the free agent waters, Chapman could get a record-setting contract for a relief pitcher. That is why the Red Sox should trade for him before he hits the market.
The Red Sox need a great bullpen if they want to compete this year. They have the prospects and the money to make a deal with Cincinnati. If Chapman likes it in Boston, he could sign an extension and the Red Sox would have the best closer in baseball for multiple years.
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