A Boston Red Sox team in need of bullpen reinforcements should look to the San Diego Padres as a trade partner before the deadline.
There aren’t many holes on a Boston Red Sox team on pace for a 110-win season but they can’t afford to let any weakness be exploited in what is expected to remain a tight division race. We can’t overreact to one loss. Yet Friday night in Seattle reminded us that this bullpen needs an upgrade prior to next month’s trade deadline.
Boston’s bullpen ranks third in the American League with a 3.02 ERA. It has hardly been a disaster. Although, it’s worth noting that the two teams ahead of them – Houston and New York – are their main competition for the pennant.
Despite the overall solid numbers produced by this bullpen, how many Red Sox relievers can you trust late in a close game? Craig Kimbrel has been brilliant as the closer and Joe Kelly has established himself as a reliable setup option. Beyond those two, the options get a bit shaky. Matt Barnes shouldn’t be utilized in high leverage situations. Heath Hembree is pitching his way out of a roster spot.
The impending return of Tyler Thornburg will help, assuming he’s back to pre-injury form. We can’t necessarily count on him returning to elite form right away or count on his addition being enough. For the Red Sox to improve the back of their bullpen they will need to explore the trade market.
The last place San Diego Padres appear open for business and their bullpen has a few enticing options. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Padres have already received interest on Brad Hand, Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen.