The Boston Red Sox need bullpen help and Baltimore are putting three relievers on the market. Is Boston possible for one? I see the potential only via a blockbuster deal.
The Boston Red Sox are in need of bullpen help. Could they find some from a division rival?
According to rumors, the Baltimore Orioles are on the verge of becoming sellers as the season starts to separate into three categories. The first is we have a solid chance for the playoffs followed by we have a decent chance followed by we surrender. The O’s are now in surrender mode. Dan Duquette has received permission from above to make some moves to facilitate a resurrection of the O’s by next season.
The beleaguered O’s are 14th in the American League in pitching. The O’s whack a mole starters are 14th and the relief group – that gives little relief – is ninth. So with a fragile pitching staff what do you deal? Why pitching, of course! The three mentioned are Zack Britton, Brad Brach, and Darren O’Day.
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The good news is Boston is attempting to get some relief for their bullpen and the O’s have the stock on the shelf and are willing to deal. The bad news is virtually every other team in both leagues with a whiff of contention are also on the market prowl. Then comes the worst of all possible news – Dave Dombrowski.
DD had made swaps in the past few seasons to shore up our sagging baseball backliners and just how has that worked out? Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg are now apparently case studies in how to ruin your arm. Dombrowski in the trade for bullpen help leaves me with the idea that I find out Bernie Madoff was handling my investments, but exit snarky and proceed to just who do you get?
The obvious one not to get is Britton. The Orioles closer, when in reasonable health, is about as good as it gets for a closer. When I last looked, our closer Craig Kimbrel was doing rather well – if you omit that nice fat one delivered to Matt Holliday. So that leaves two right-handers in Brach and O’Day.
Both are relatively close according on Fangraphs. Neither has risen to top ten or even top twenty status, but both are having fairly positive seasons. Brach was tossed into the closer role with the prolonged absence of Britton and did have 15 saves. Brach also had four blown saves.
There are the usual other statistical items for each. Brach’s 2.75 ERA and 3.50 FIP versus O’Day’s 3.77 ERA and 2.92 FIP. O’Day strikes out batters at a higher rate with an 11.32 K/9 to Brach’s 9.61 K/9. The real separator is in walks. O’Day has a nasty 4.06 BB/9 to Brach’s 2.52 BB/9. Brach gives up fewer hits with an attractive 5.3 H/9 to O’Day’s almost equally attractive 5.5 BB/9. Even GB% is fairly close for each.
So there it is with the statistical fundamentals. Brach or O’Day? Ginger or Mary Ann? Neither gets hammered by lefties so that is not an issue. The 31-year-old Brach will be a free agent in 2019 and 34-year-old O’day will be paid $9 Million in 2018 and 2019. But what about Fenway Park?
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Brach is just unreal in his 12.1 innings and Fenway allowing a lone earned run and having a 3-0 record. O’Day is no pitching Bumpkin with 23.2 innings and a 1.52 ERA at Fenway. Both have the familiar pressure and game redundancy of tossing in the American League East. The only tipping point for me, if it was Sophie’s Choice, would be my aversion to walks and O’Day’s is too high in the comparison, but, hey what is really the deciding factor goes back to our own Boston baseball operations and just what do you sacrifice?
The O’s have needs and they also have swapped with Boston in the past. Duke knows our city and will undoubtedly play off the Red Sox and any other team against each other. Our farm system is depleted and I doubt even the semi pitching anxious Red Sox – I dismiss any DD pronouncements regarding no bullpen searches as a ploy – will dump the best. So just who? Forget Sam Travis or Rafael Devers. Would the O’s be interested in a package of lower top ten prospects?
Would the Red Sox part with a veteran player? Looking at our “regulars” some are salary restricted and others would have to be sent to the O’s only if Baltimore built a package. Could such a package be developed to include a bat?
So from my view, the only way I can see this accomplished is Baltimore accepting a minor league package or a mega deal that would expand well beyond just the pitchers mentioned. Ah – July is the month for blockbusters!