This is the second part of a two-part series dissecting the Red Sox Bullpen and the problems within it. In this Part II, the depth and talent problem that was previously discussed is addressed.
The Boston Red Sox have a bullpen problem. That much we’ve already discussed.
Their lack of trustworthy arms in the bullpen led to David Price and Chris Sale being deployed at pivotal points in playoff games. They relied on borderline replacement-level relievers throughout the year. The left-handed relievers they did have were used primarily as lefty-specialists. Their biggest bullpen acquisitions of the last two years missed either all (Tyler Thornburg) or most (Carson Smith) of 2017. So, what can they do to fix this bullpen?
They’ve already gutted their farm system for pitching. Acquiring Sale cost them four prospects – two of them were top-20. Craig Kimbrel carried the same cost as Sale. Thornburg cost three prospects AND third baseman Travis Shaw. The cost for Drew Pomeranz was only one prospect, but it was their top-pitching prospect in Anderson Espinoza. The only real prospect capital Boston has left is third base prospect Michael Chavis and pitching prospect Jason Groome. So the avenue of trade is, for the most part, out of the question.
Luckily for the Red Sox, the 2017-18 free agent class – a class flush with high-end relievers – could serve as the solution.
All statistical references from here on out are according to the Baseball-Reference database.