Red Sox fans might be overlooking the real reason Josh Winckowski was demoted

Washington Nationals v Boston Red Sox
Washington Nationals v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

On May 12, the Boston Red Sox had to make a roster move to reinstate Brayan Bello from the injured list. To many fans' surprise, Boston optioned righty reliever Josh Winckowski to Triple-A.

Winckowski made the big-league team out of spring training and served as a reliable relief option for the Red Sox for much of the first quarter of the 2024 campaign. The righty pitched to a 3.33 ERA in 12 appearances, including three starts.

In recent games, Winckowski's strikeout rate has decreased and he's given up more runs. He's allowed six earned in his last seven outings and his ERA has increased significantly during that time.

Another Red Sox arm has recently been more reliable for both short and long relief outings. That would be Cam Booser.

Booser made his MLB debut earlier this season at 31 years old. The former carpenter and youth baseball coach's emotional road to the big leagues went viral around the time of his debut, and he's paid the Red Sox back for their trust in the form of efficiency on the mound.

The Red Sox opted to keep Cam Booser with he big-league club over Josh Winckowski

The lefty has logged a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings and allowed just one run in his last seven appearances. Booser typically makes single-inning relief outings, but he's been trusted to throw multiple innings twice, and he hasn't disappointed.

The Red Sox bullpen is heavy on right-handed talent, and Booser's left-handedness offers them a bit of variety. Winckowski is right-handed, and it likely benefits the Red Sox more to hold onto a lefty at the big-league level, which could be another explanation for his demotion after his early success.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora called the decision to option Winckowski "tough," and the skipper said Sox fans will see him again later on. For now, Booser, Brennan Bernardino and Justin Slaten can hold it down in Boston's bullpen. Upon Garrett Whitlock's eventual return to the starting rotation, the 'pen could gain another reliable long-relief option in Cooper Criswell.

Booser's journey through the ranks of professional baseball has been inspirational. The way he's performed to stay in the big leagues after his debut has been even more so, and that's probably the reason Winck is at Triple-A.

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