The Boston Red Sox have lefty relievers, but apparently the club may not feel that they are enough to start the 2016 season.
Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe tweeted:
Clearly the idea is not about the closer position, with the addition of Craig Kimbrel for the ninth inning and putting Koji Uehara in the eighth frame, but judging by the success of the Kansas City Royals you can never have enough talent in the bullpen.
The Royals rarely needed their starters to look past the fifth and sixth innings to get the win. Often, the bullpen was brought in the moment their starters began to break a sweat. That strategy, with the fact that the Royals’ set of relievers were among the best in baseball, helped the team win the 2015 World Series. The strategy worked against some of the best offensive teams in the game.
Since the Red Sox starting rotation is still in flux, making everyone wonder which starters will stand up with ace David Price to defend the Fenway faithful, the strategy may just be what Boston needs.
Tommy Layne and Robbie Ross Jr. carried the bulk of the lefty reliever time, last season. At 31, Layne threw 47.2 innings, allowing a 3.97 ERA with 27 walks and 45 strikeouts. Opposing batters hit .230 against him. In 60.2 innings of work, Ross allowed a 3.86 ERA with 20 walks to 53 strikeouts. Batters hit .250 against him. Nothing terrible, but nothing amazing either. The two men sometimes took turns looking better than the other, but both cost the Red Sox runs late in ballgames, which the team couldn’t afford with the starters already digging a hole too big to overcome.
Roenis Elias‘ skills struck out 97 hitters to only 44 walks with the Seattle Mariners, but the Red Sox may see what he can do as a starter instead of a reliever, making room for more lefty arms in the bullpen.
Cotts pitched 63.1 innings last year, the majority with the Milwaukee Brewers and the remainder with the Minnesota Twins. He struck out 58 batters to 22 walks, allowing 24 runs to score.
Morales spent time with Boston before, but now has World Series experience with the Royals as well. He was able to shrink his ERA from 3.90 for the Red Sox to 3.18 for the Royals. He struck out 41 batters to 14 walks in 62.1 innings, last season.
With all of the powerful bats in the American League, especially in the East division, a good mix of solid lefty and righty relievers would be preferred. If the opportunity presents itself, Morales seems like the better candidate to bring back to the fold, as Cotts may or may not pan out in his shift from the National to the American League. Whatever the case, the idea seems to be a logical one for the long haul if the Red Sox want to make a run. It just can’t be a deal for too much money; not that a middle reliever would garner such a price tag.