Carson Smith could be key for Red Sox regular season roster
With the Red Sox announcing their ten non-roster invitees to camp yesterday, one name, in particular, is a notable one to Sox fans.
Carson Smith will be a familiar name to any fans who’ve followed the Sox closely over the last few years. However, after three seasons in the Red Sox organization, Smith’s presence remains one that goes partly unnoticed, for the most part. Riddled by long-term injuries, Smith’s tenure in Boston, thus far, has been nothing short of a restricted one.
Injuring his right shoulder back in May, Smith’s season was cut short after 18 appearances from the bullpen. As a name on Boston’s non-roster invitee list, Smith remains in contention to make a comeback to a Red Sox bullpen which isn’t exactly stacked as it stands.
After acquiring Smith from the Blue Jays in the Wade Miley trade back in December of 2015, the right-handed pitcher was only able to make three regular-season appearances in the 2016 season, before season-ending Tommy John surgery surfaced. 2017 remained frustrating for Smith, only pitching in eight games in what should’ve been a comeback season. Albeit, he impressed many fans, with an ERA of 1.35 over his short stint.
What was more impressive was Smith’s ability to come into the large-scale games, as he appeared in Game 2 and 3 of the ALDS. A series the Sox would go on to drop to the later champion, Houston Astros. Smith pitched 1.1 innings allowing no runs.
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However capable Smith has looked at any point in his Red Sox career, it has never mattered, up until now. Whenever he’s got a chance to perform injury has always come back to bite him. 2018 wasn’t kind to him either. Smith threw his glove in the dugout in frustration after allowing Khris Davis to hit a home run for the Athletics – a freak event eventually resulting in another season-ending surgery.
He’s got plenty of pitches in his arsenal which can be very troublesome for any given opponent. His focus on his breaking balls, his curveball, slider, and sinker produce three separate weapons which would be very useful to the Sox bullpen if they can be executed well and Smith can remain injury-free.
Whether or not Smith can make a full recovery is unknown. After three successive seasons, requiring three different surgeries, Smith looks destined to remain an injury-prone pitcher. But, adding Smith to camp this spring will allow him to have another shot at the majors for Boston. Anybody who’s seen him pitch can vouch for him, even if it’s just slightly.
With a bullpen that has struggled at many times over the last couple of years, it’s obvious that the Sox need to bring in an arm or two. As the 2018 World Champions, it’s easy to say that there’s nothing that needs to be changed about this incredible roster.
But, to maintain the title of ‘best team in baseball’ the Sox need to make minor adjustments. Losing Joe Kelly to the Dodgers highlights this. Kelly, when locked in, was one of the leading bullpen figures in the 2018 season and his absence from the roster is yet to be filled.
Down the stretch, the bullpen will be terribly important to how things do pan out in 2019. Whether the Sox add another free agent reliever or look to get help from within the organization, something will be done about it and a healthy Carson Smith will remain a very feasible option, going forward.