Much like a cat with nine lives, Ryan Brasier lives to
pitch another day.
Ahead of the 8 PM ET Non-Tender deadline on Friday, November 18, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe announced that the struggling reliever will remain with the Boston Red Sox in 2023.
Franchy Cordero and Yu Chang were non-tendered; they are now free agents.
Red Sox non-tender Cordero, Chang, keep Brasier
While Speier tweeted that the news ‘shouldn’t come as a surprise,’ many fans were less than thrilled by the announcement, and it’s not hard to see why.
After his breakout debut (partial) season with the Sox in 2018, Brasier posted a 4.57 ERA across 87 appearances between 2019-20, barely pitched in 2021, and is coming off a career-worst year. Over 68 appearances in 2022, he compiled a 5.78 ERA, 1.299 WHIP, and 3.61 FIP. He gave up a whopping 43 runs – 40 of them earned – in just 62 1/3 innings. No other Sox reliever allowed more than 33 earned runs.
In general, the Sox bullpen was a disaster this year, blowing 28 saves in 39 opportunities; four of those blown saves belong to Brasier, who only successfully converted one opportunity. Boston relievers posted a combined 4.59 ERA across 623 1/3 innings, allowed 318 earned runs, and issued more walks (268) than the starting rotation (258) in their 807 2/3 innings of work.
The Sox must have a higher standard for their bullpen (and roster construction, in general). No amount of money spent elsewhere will be able to mask a weak relief core, as evidenced by this season when the Sox exceeded the luxury tax and lost so many winnable games. Even though Brasier is only expected to command a minuscule salary, every million counts, especially in such a crucial offseason. That money could go to Rafael Devers or Xander Bogaerts, or perhaps a reliever with an ERA under 5.
In case Sox brass are wondering, these are the kind of decisions that make fans doubt they’re trying to build a contender.