Red Sox bullpen vs the AL East
- Rays (20)
- Blue Jays (15)
- Yankees (10)
- Red Sox (5)
- Orioles (1)
The Rays always seem to have a great bullpen despite never really having any big names, and this year looks to be no different. They return six relievers who had sub-three ERAs in 2021, a deep and versatile bullpen that can match up against any lineup. The only question is whether they can handle the innings workload thrust on them by a lackluster rotation.
The Blue Jays Achilles heel last year was their bullpen, but there are reasons to believe that it will be better this year. Jordan Romano will have his first full season as the team’s closer after converting all 23 saves last year upon winning the role in mid-May. To give him some support, the Blue Jays signed reliever Yimi Garcia, who possesses a 3.55 ERA over the last three seasons. Adam Cimber and Tim Mayza both return off solid seasons, forming a solid back-end of the bullpen for a team that should have plenty of leads.
Like the Rays, the Yankees have had a strong bullpen in recent years, but there are reasons to be concerned. Closer Aroldis Chapman is entering his age 34 season and coming off a year in which he had his highest ERA and walk rate since 2011. Jonathan Loaisiga proved to be a solid late-inning option, but there are few other trustworthy options in the bullpen. Veteran Chad Green fell off in the second half, Zack Britton was a disaster, and the rest of the options have never been late-inning relievers.
The Red Sox have even more issues in their bullpen. All-Star closer Matt Barnes had a 10.13 ERA after August 7, a performance so bad that he was left off the postseason issues. Set-up men Hirokazu Sawamura and Darwinzon Hernandez both have struggled with control, and free agents Adam Ottavino and Hansel Robles remain unsigned. Garrett Whitlock nearly single-handily saved the bullpen as a rookie last year, but if he falls off, the Red Sox are in serious trouble.
If you thought the Orioles rotation was bad, wait until you see their bullpen. Their 2021 relief ERA was over half a run higher than any other team baseball, and the names coming out of the ‘pen are known only by the most die-hard of baseball fans. Relief pitching is usually the last piece of the puzzle a team completes before contending and given that the Orioles are a year away from being competitive, their bullpen should be a mess for the foreseeable future.