Red Sox trade breakout 2022 bullpen arm to Royals as Kenley Jansen rumors lag

Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Guardians
Boston Red Sox v Cleveland Guardians / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

So ... are the Kansas City Royals doing a better job of contending (or at least trying to) than the Boston Red Sox? You have to wonder! Because on Saturday morning, KC acquired a key bullpen arm from the Sox.

No, it wasn't Kenley Jansen or Chris Martin, both of whom would've made the most sense because of their elevated salaries in a contract year.

As the rumors have suggested, John Schreiber, who broke out for the Sox in 2022, is on the move about a year or so after he was viewed as a cornerstone bullpen piece for Boston.

In return, the Red Sox received pitching prospect David Sandlin, who was ranked No. 16 in the Royals organization via FanGraphs in the middle of the 2023 season. Considering Schreiber had three more years of control, it's unclear why this move was attractive to Boston.

Because shedding $1.175 million in payroll commitments for the 2024 season hardly does anything to help Boston's financial flexibility.

Red Sox trade breakout 2022 bullpen arm to Royals as Kenley Jansen rumors lag

Schreiber took a step back in 2023, but broke out in 2022 with a 2.22 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 0.985 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 65 innings. Last year, he was limited due to injuries and posted a 3.86 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 1.414 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 46.2 innings.

His peripheral metrics suffered, too. He saw his expected ERA, fastball velocity, whiff percentage, chase rate, walk rate, average exit velocity and fly ball rate plummet to varying degrees.

So, for the most part, Schreiber is an unknown commodity, but so is Sandlin, who is 22 years old and just reached High-A (two games) last season. The former 11th-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft has shown an impressive penchant for striking out batters, but won't be a major leaguer anytime soon.

All this really does is further wave the white flag for the 2024 season. Sandlin is a low-level prospect that more so plays into Boston's future plans beyond this coming year than anything else.

But at least they got some value, right? Craig Breslow's journey to fix the foundation of the organization has long been underway, but the results are going to take far too much time for impatient Sox fans, who want to win now.