There’s little secret that the Red Sox would love to grab a reliever at the Deadline. However, with limited resources Dave Dombrowski may pursue a cheaper options.
As we’re now less than 24 hours away from the vaunted Trade Deadline, the biggest bullpen names have largely been moved. Zach Britton is a Yankee, Brad Hand is in Cleveland, and a plethora of other relievers have all been sent elsewhere.
Additionally, the majority of the Red Sox needs have been met. Starting depth? Check. Infielder? Check. Now, it will be interesting to see whether the Sox will seek an immediate upgrade in the bullpen, or not.
The farm system is depleted in Boston, but that likely won’t deter Dealin’ Dave from making an additional move, or two, before the 4 PM deadline.
Here are a few value options that the Red Sox may pursue:
Craig Stammen / San Diego Padres
Stammen (4-1 / 2.58 ERA) is a veteran option that likely would not merit much in a trade alone. He’s a proven reliever that has valuable experience and could solidify the middle innings of the Red Sox bullpen. If he were packaged with Padres’ reliever, Kirby Yates, there would be more hesitation to pull the trigger.
Brad Ziegler / Miami Marlins
The side arm reliever has been linked to the Red Sox for a couple of days. Ziegler had a 1.58 ERA in his prior employment with the Sox, but was sorely misused by John Farrell situationally.
A rough beginning to the season greatly effects his numbers as he possessed a 7.11 ERA in March / April and a 8.71 ERA in May. Since that point, he’s allowed 3 ER in his last 29 innings. The price tag would be cheap and it may be enticing due to a .221 BAA for righties.
Francisco Liriano / Detroit Tigers
On the surface, Liriano looks like a waste of time for any prospective GM. He’s an aging veteran with an ERA over 4 and it’s clear that his best days are behind him. However, upon further examination it is evident that the left handed reliever has been nearly unhittable for lefty hitters.
LHH are hitting .113 against the Tigers’ reliever. Additionally, Liriano spent last postseason with the Houston Astros and possesses valuable experience on a team that has yet to find a solid lefty reliever. Dombrowski may be able to steal him for cheap, which may be worth the time.
There’s no guarantee that the Red Sox will seek an upgrade within the bullpen. Most of the big names have been dealt, leaving a marginal upgrade over current members of a very solid Red Sox bullpen.
The performance against the Phillies showcased a number of role players that bridged the gap to a Sox win. Craig Kimbrel was unavailable, but instead Thornburg / Brasier / Hembree / Joe Kelly / Hector Velazquez backed an impressive start from David Price and shut down the first place team in the NL East.
If there’s no deal to be had, it is clear that Dombrowski has a lot of faith in his current bullpen and that the price of a potential upgrade outweighs the return on investment.