Bullpen – Internal
With all the injuries that the Red Sox have suffered to their pitching staff you may have wondered why they didn’t do more to bolster the bullpen. With few trustworthy options behind Kimbrel, is Reed going to be enough?
Fear not, as reinforcements are on the way.
Brandon Workman was added to the bullpen earlier this month and has been outstanding ever since. He’s allowed only two runs over 10 2/3 innings for a 1.69 ERA in eight appearances during this latest stint. He’s struck out 10 and walked only two over that span. Workman has been plagued by injuries the last few years, but this is a guy who pitched key innings in the postseason on Boston’s 2013 World Series run.
Joe Kelly is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment in Pawtucket on Wednesday, so a return to the Red Sox bullpen can’t be far behind. He’s been Boston’s second best reliever this year, posting a 1.49 ERA in 34 appearances. Kelly was emerging as viable setup man prior to the injury. He could still see time in that role on days that Reed or Kimbrel are unavailable, but bumping him down the hierarchy should allow the Red Sox to monitor Kelly’s workload more carefully and deepen the bullpen.
Let’s not forget about Carson Smith either. No, really. Don’t laugh. Smith was back on the mound facing live batters at Fenway on Monday, so a return could be on the horizon. We’ve waited over 14 months to see Smith make a contribution to Boston’s bullpen. If he’s even close to being back to the form he showed with the Seattle Mariners, Smith will be as good as any reliever the Red Sox could hope to acquire at the trade deadline.
If the Red Sox manage to get all of these pitchers back – and keep them healthy – their bullpen will be stocked. If Dombrowski feels confident that these three relievers can be counted on down the stretch then adding Reed will be enough. However, that is a big if.
If a healthy Red Sox bullpen pitches to their potential then Dombrowski gets an A for acquiring a solid setup man without giving up any of their top assets. If their internal options struggle or continue to battle injuries then the grade sinks to below-average for failing to add more depth. Therefore we’ll split the difference.
Bullpen Grade – B