Red Sox have plenty of free agent options to boost bullpen
With the Red Sox looking to add to an already proven roster, there will definitely be an emphasis on bringing in some extra ammunition for the bullpen.
2018 was a season that would be hard to better in many aspects. In a season which saw the Boston Red Sox clinch their ninth World Series title, in emphatic style, there were little faults. The 108-win team was near perfect and should be able to continue to dominate teams next season. With free agency now upon us, Boston will look to bolster the roster in order to defend their title in 2019. Relief pitching will be an area of interest for the front office and a few arms will likely be brought in to help bring the bullpen to the next level.
Last week saw the Red Sox linked to two relievers from the rival New York Yankees. These pitchers were 33-year old right-hander David Robertson and 30-year old left-hander Zach Britton. With both former Yankees now unrestricted free agents, Boston could be a destination which might suit both pitchers. This would also be a beneficent move as both pitchers are proven relievers in the league and can be as reliable as anybody else available at this time. The loss of both or either Robertson and Britton will also leave holes in a fierce rival’s bullpen.
Britton was a pitcher who was linked with Boston in 2018, however, the Yankees were able to acquire him in a trade from Baltimore and he was an important part of New York’s staff towards the tail end of the season, for whom he played 25 games, recording an impressive 2.88 ERA. He could bring a new dynamic to the pen.
The two-time All-Star, who finished 4th in the 2016 AL Cy Young Award voting, can throw a number of effective pitches. His primary pitch is his sinker, which would be a useful alternative to have, especially come crunch time.
Britton looks as though he’ll command a three-year deal at about $11 million per year. This isn’t a bad deal, but it’s not cheap for a reliever either. It would take a specific amount of commitment from the Red Sox if this was something they decided to pursue. Britton is, however, one of the premier relievers in this free agency class and would be a good fit for bolstering this bullpen.
Robertson can be a good fit too. Like Britton, he’s one of the better bullpen pitchers available in free agency and can be a reliant option. With the Red Sox reportedly reluctant to offer the veteran a four-year deal, which it looks like he’ll get from someone, this is a scenario which could be harder to see happening, if you consider it from all angles.
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The right-hander has enjoyed a long career in the majors, which has included two lengthily periods in New York and a couple of season with the Chicago White Sox. He’s been a good option from the bullpen for a lengthily time and has produced some very good seasons.
Robertson made his real mark on the league back in 2011, where he was named as an All-Star during a year which saw him record an ERA of 1.08 and a WHIP of 1.125 – some sensational numbers. More recently, since moving to Chicago and then back, Robertson has been one of the more effective Yankee pitchers, specifically in the pen. 2018 wasn’t one of his best years but he still made an impact in New York and was a big factor in helping them get to the ALDS, as he finished the regular season with an 8-3 record, but wasn’t the dominant self that he has been in the past.
Whether or not the Red Sox reconsider or offer fewer years in a deal, he will remain another reliever who has the potential for a bullpen role.
With Britton and Robertson both looking to move on, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Boston going after them. However, an aggressive approach is not expected, especially for Robertson, as a four-year deal is too much to commit to. They both remain strong candidates for suiting the bullpen role that the Sox are looking for and rumors will continue to turn up until any decisions begin to come to the table.