Red Sox Closing Option #4: Garrett Whitlock
This is where I start to look at things in a different manner. Garrett Whitlock was brought to the Red Sox to eventually be a starter, and the club is hellbent on following through with that game plan. He spent the 2021 season in the bullpen and was one of the best relievers in the game and that carried over to this season.
The aforementioned Houck issue is what propelled Garrett to the rotation and I don’t think Boston wants to change his role. I fully understand what they want from Garrett and what their goals are long-term, but they also need to think of the here and now.
Whitlock hasn’t been all too impressive as a starter and his outings have a bit of a Jekyll/Hyde feeling to them. Some starts can see him mow down the opposition and cruise while others see him barely get out of the third inning or just get pummeled.
I may be in the minority in this opinion but I’d much rather have reliever Garrett than starter Garrett. He was an absolute monster out of the bullpen and considering Boston’s rather high rate of blowing saves, I’d love for him to go back and be our closer. Of course, he’s on the IL right now due to a hip issue and it’s hard to now wonder if converting him from a reliever to starter without the proper time is the culprit.
Putting him back in the bullpen upon his return may be the best for his future, and it’s a win-win. It allows the Red Sox to lighten his workload while also gaining a relief arm that can shut down any offense. I’m all for making him a starter but wait until 2023, give him the full offseason of that being his mindset so he can prepare properly. Let’s see him take the ball in the ninth inning and just throw that filth for now.