Red Sox can't make same John Schreiber mistake with this controllable reliever

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox traded reliever John Schreiber to the Kansas City Royals during spring training in a move that shocked fans.

In 2024, Schreiber has pitched to a quality 2.67 ERA over 27 innings of work with the Royals. The Red Sox received starting pitching prospect David Sandlin in return for the reliever, but Schreiber would have served Boston's bullpen well this season, especially under the tutelage of new pitching coach, Andrew Bailey.

Boston's bullpen has been solid, but as time goes on it's evident that the unit needs all the help it can get, especially as the starting rotation's performance begins to regress to the mean.

The Red Sox still have a few relievers who've posted better seasons than Schreiber so far, but one sticks out above the rest.

Brennan Bernardino has been elite for Boston. After years of hard work, the then-30-year-old Bernardino made his MLB debut with the Seattle Mariners in 2022, but found success with the Red Sox the following season. He logged a 3.20 ERA across 50 2/3 innings in 2023.

The lefty has shown significant improvement this season and he's been the Sox's most clutch bullpen option. He's pitched to a 0.99 ERA over 27.1 frames of work, and has shown no signs of slowing down. Bernardino's ERA was under 1.00 from April 25-June 1 and, until his June 9 outing, he didn't allow a hit with runners in scoring position in 31 plate appearances.

The Red Sox should avoid trading their best reliever, Brennan Bernardino

The trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Red Sox have a few reliever candidates that they're likely going to shop. Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin are nearing the end of their contracts, and possibly their careers, so they're likely to be dished.

ESPN's Jeff Passan suggested that Boston might throw a controllable reliever, like Bernardino, into the mix, though, and that would be a mistake.

The Red Sox should hold onto Bernardino. He's been stellar for them so far and the bullpen lacks left-handed depth — Cam Booser is the only other lefty option on the big-league roster with Bernardino. Boston has some other left-handed hurlers, but they're either in the minors or injured long-term. And if this team loves saving money, why not keep a cost-effective reliever that is emerging as a legitiate late-innings option?

The Red Sox's pitching staff, as a whole, needs lefties, and Bernardino has been incredible this year. He has two years of control left on his rookie contract, and he's been too good to give away while he's on such a team-friendly deal.

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