In 2019 the search for a closer sifted through a good portion of the pitching roster before righty Brandon Workman surfaced and become numero uno for 2020. The now official closer of the Red Sox! Will Workman be Heathcliff Slocumb? Will Workman be Craig Kimbrel? His job until he fails and failure is all dependent upon how new manager Ron Roenicke is.
The Red Sox bullpen is not that bad or the Red Sox bullpen is not that good. I lean more towards the good as there is both a fine combination of veterans and youth. With the new multiple batters rule in place, the Red Sox will meld into that routine this spring and I would expect no significant disruption to the bullpen.
The watchful eyes for me will be upon Darwinzon Hernandez as the lefty attempts to find that slice of rubber known as home plate with some degree of consistency. Fellow lefty Josh Taylor became a notable entry into the bullpen mix with 52 games. Both have options so spring could mean a layover at Pawtucket if roster circumstances so dictate.
The Red Sox veteran contingent is led by Matt Barnes who is either loved or vilified game to game. Barnes – a rare pitching product of the farm system – can bring his “Wild Thing” mojo into any given game.
Heath Hembree, Ryan Brasier, Hector Velazquez, and Marcus Walden all have to be considered the early favorites to round out the bullpen. Plenty of others will float quicker. Walden could make some noise it the Red Sox go the opener route.
What to watch this spring? The numbers game will play out with a veteran or two being sent elsewhere. Will the Red Sox bring in an experienced arm?