The Boston Red Sox are rumored to be among the teams checking on the Cincinnati Reds bullpen for potential trade targets.
The quest to upgrade the bullpen before the MLB trade deadline has the Boston Red Sox checking in on the Cincinnati Reds.
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Red Sox are among the teams interested in Cincinnati’s core of late-inning relievers. The last-place Reds are likely sellers and have a few intriguing relievers to offer.
The most enticing option would be closer Raisel Iglesias, who owns a 2.30 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9. He has converted 19 of 22 save opportunities this year and has notched 53 career saves. The Red Sox are aiming high in the reliever market for an option who can pair with Craig Kimbrel to form a two-headed monster to protect the back end of the bullpen.
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A reliever who could also potentially serve as his replacement if Kimbrel walks in free agency this winter would be a welcome bonus. Iglesias is owed just over $5.7 million in each of the next two seasons and remains under team control until 2022. Trading for Iglesias now may be preferable to handing Kimbrel a mega-contract after this season.
His talent, affordable contract and years of control will also make Iglesias expensive. Perhaps more than the Red Sox can afford with their depleted farm system. The Rockies, Phillies, and Braves are the other teams reportedly looking to the Reds for bullpen help, which could drive the price out of Boston’s reach.
If the cost to acquire Iglesias proves to be too much, Cincinnati has cheaper options.
David Hernandez is having a strong season, posting a 1.75 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 8.8 K/9. He’s not a suitable replacement for Kimbrel beyond this season but could be a serviceable setup option locked in for a bargain $2.5 million next year.
The concern with Hernandez is that he was in a similar situation last year. He thrived in the first half for the Los Angeles Angels, only to struggle following a trade to the contending Arizona Diamondbacks. Hernandez posted a 4.82 ERA over 18 2/3 innings in the desert. Would Boston take a risk on him knowing he was a trade deadline bust a year ago?
Jared Hughes has been arguably the best of the trio this year with a 1.56 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He even filled in admirably as the closer when Iglesias missed time earlier this season. However, his middling 6.9 K/9 rate gives a reason for pause. Hughes isn’t the power pitcher Dave Dombrowski is typically enamored with. His 3.04 FIP also suggests his ERA should be about double where it currently stands, which would be in the territory he was at the last couple of years.
Iglesias is the type of reliever the Red Sox covet but he may be a long shot given the expected asking price. The other two options boast a shiny ERA but it’s hard to imagine either of them performing at that level in a pennant race in Boston. Neither Hernandez or Hughes seem like significant upgrades over what the Red Sox already have forming a bridge to Kimbrel.