The Boston Red Sox find themselves in an interesting situation as the trade deadline approaches. Do they buy or do they sell?
The Red Sox sit at 52-47 on the season. They're 8.5 games back in the AL East but are just two games back of the third Wild Card spot. A postseason spot is within reach, but this is the same Red Sox team that took the momentum they had with strong play before the break and even after the break when they won a series against the Cubs, and threw that away by losing two of three against the lowly Oakland A's.
The Red Sox will be getting Trevor Story back soon, but is that enough of a reason for them to buy? Regardless of this team's direction in the next couple of weeks, it's hard to envision these three players playing any sort of role in Boston past the trade deadline.
1) Red Sox reliever Richard Bleier won't survive the trade deadline
After DFA'ing Matt Barnes this offseason, the Red Sox shipped him off to Miami in exchange for left-hander Richard Bleier. The 36-year-old had a strong track record of being a solid left-handed reliever in the bullpen including a fine year in 2022, but has really struggled as a member of the Red Sox.
Bleier has a 5.09 ERA in 21 appearances and 23 innings pitched. ERA's for relievers are often misleading, but Bleier has allowed runs in eight of his 21 outings. He's also allowed 60% of the runners he's inherited to score. That's not great.
Bleier has held left-handed hitters to a .234/.270/.335 slash line in his career. That's what has kept him in the majors. We knew he'd have a bit of a more difficult time with the three-batter rule, but he's struggled mightily against left-handed hitters this season. They have 13 hits in 34 at-bats (.382 average) with three home runs against Bleier this season. For reference, lefties had just seven home runs in 512 at-bats against him entering this season.
Bleier did miss nearly two months due to injury and has three scoreless innings, but it's just hard to envision this guy having a major role on the Red Sox regardless of their situation. He's not good enough to be a reliable arm if they're trying to win, and if they sell, what purpose does a 36-year-old on a one-year deal have? With all of the left-handers Boston has, Bleier isn't needed.