The Boston Red Sox are reportedly eyeing right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson for bullpen depth as the MLB trade deadline approaches.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Red Sox are among the teams evaluating the Toronto Blue Jays reliever.
Hudson is having his best season since converting into a reliever in 2014. He owns a 2.72 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 8.8 K/9 in 43 innings out of the Toronto bullpen.
He’s been particularly sharp lately, producing a stellar 0.93 ERA over his last 16 appearances.
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The journeyman right-hander was with the Los Angeles Dodgers last year but wasn’t on their postseason roster and didn’t face the Red Sox during the World Series. He’s seen plenty of Boston’s lineup this year though, holding the Red Sox to one run with seven strikeouts over six innings of relief for the Blue Jays.
The Red Sox activated Nathan Eovaldi from the 60-day injured list this weekend and plan to use him in the closer role. They could still use another reliable arm in the bullpen but won’t need to pay the steep price it would take to acquire a proven closer if they are confident in Eovaldi being able to handle the ninth inning. Pivoting to a setup option who can help bridge the gap to Eovaldi makes sense in that case.
Hudson would fit the bill for what they need if he can continue this year’s success. That’s a big “if” though. While he’s shown flashes in the past, Hudson’s 4.61 ERA over the previous three seasons leaves a lot to be desired.
A 4.46 FIP suggests that Hudson’s ERA may be a mirage. He walks too many batters with an unappealing 4.4 BB/9. The Red Sox have their fair share of relievers who haven’t been stingy with free passes but guys like Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes make up for it with elite strikeout rates.
Hudson will be a free agent after this season and is making only $1.6 million this year, less than half of which would be paid by the Red Sox if they acquire him by the deadline. It would be surprising if Toronto didn’t make him available and Hudson shouldn’t cost much in terms of a prospect package or salary. That adds to the appeal for a Red Sox team with a thin farm system and very little payroll flexibility.
He’s not a flashy target but Hudson could fill a role in Boston’s bullpen at an affordable cost. That’s the type of move we should realistically expect at the deadline.