Red Sox: Austin Maddox’s future with team is bleak

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Austin Maddox
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Austin Maddox /

The righty has struggled in the minor leagues and may be without a spot on the Red Sox roster.

Boston Red Sox reliever Austin Maddox has struggled to regain form after his injury in spring training.

On Wednesday, Maddox, 27, was lit up by New Hampshire late in the game and the Portland Sea Dogs were handed a 5-3 loss because of it. The righty gave up two earned runs on three hits through two innings.

Maddox has now allowed five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched for Red Sox minor league affiliates Portland and Pawtucket. While he attempts to work his way back to the Red Sox bullpen, one must wonder if there’s a spot or need for him on the roster.

The Red Sox have Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Brian Johnson, Hector Velazuez, Steven Wright Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel. Boston also has Bobby Poyner waiting for his shot to be placed back on the big-league roster.

Out of those relievers, the Red Sox have two guys who are trusted in high leverage situations against elite talent: Kelly and Kimbrel. The rest of the bullpen? A bunch of sixth inning guys who need all the coddling they can get from the manager to throw scoreless innings without imploding. Barnes has been better as of late, but do we really trust him in a tight ball game in the late innings at Yankee Stadium? No.

Even Velazquez, who has been solid all year, hasn’t thrown the ball well his past couple of outings. The Red Sox simply need at least one or two arms that can be trusted in the seventh and eighth innings.

Maddox isn’t that guy – at least not right now. Add Maddox as another member of the sixth inning club for this season– something the Red Sox certainly don’t need more of. While things can change and roster moves can be made, it’s unclear what the Red Sox envision Maddox’s role with the team moving forward, unless he’s an innings-eating replacement for Hembree, Johnson or Wright.

However, Maddox does have a bright future with Boston and was highly effective last season with a 0.52 ERA. Maddox isn’t going to blow you away with his stuff – his fastball barely hits 90 mph – but he managed to only give up one earned run and two walks in 17 1/3 innings pitched. He also added 14 strikeouts but allowed 13 hits, producing a 6.75 H/9 which is a bit of a high ratio for a reliever.

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Right now, Maddox is seemingly behind Tyler Thornburg and Poyner for a spot on the Red Sox roster. Barring an injury or major change of events, that won’t change and the Red Sox will likely add another arm at the deadline in case Thornburg is unable to regain form. Maddox is likely to be a September call-up when the rosters expand, but don’t be surprised if he’s used in a package to fetch a veteran reliever.