Photo Credit: Kim Klement / USA Today Sports
After an injury-filled tenure in Boston, the Red Sox and their reliever have parted ways.
In a sense, you almost have to feel bad for Carson Smith. The reliever was acquired by Dave Dombrowski to handle high leverage situations for the Boston Red Sox; however his arm had different plans.
The Red Sox believed in Smith’s potential after a breakout season in Seattle. His funky arm slot, coupled with a plus slider allowed him to post a 2.31 ERA with the Mariners over the course of 71 innings. In Boston, it was a different story. It took just a few pitches for Smith to tear his UCL and undergo the dreaded Tommy John surgery.
After a long, time-consuming journey, the reliever made his highly anticipated return to the Red Sox. He flashed the potential over eight outings, leaving expectations at an all-time high.
Under new manager, Alex Cora, Smith had an inside track on a setup role in the Sox bullpen. The 2018 season did not go according to plan; however, as Smith struggled and ultimately injured his shoulder while slamming his glove in the dugout. As if the injury news could get worse, he doubled-down on his prognosis by blaming the injury on his workload:
“I think my shoulder’s tired in general, just from pitching,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve thrown a lot lately and I think my arm was just tired.” – via Boston Herald
Both Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski vehemently denied the notion that his injury was due to an overwhelming workload. The comments are largely the only source of criticism from any Red Sox player in regards to their new manager.
As we know, the Red Sox went on to capture the World Series championship without Smith. The bullpen was a source of strength throughout the postseason run and it ultimately rendered the injury-prone reliever as expendable. Additionally, Dombrowski expressed that his return date was unknown after the shoulder surgery.
Faith in Cora
The release of Smith showed the Red Sox confidence in their manager, as if there was any doubt. It’s possible that Boston could have ultimately had more production out of their reliever, but any time a player is willing to speak out against their organization, there is cause to move on.
Smith has great potential, but he’s not worth the roster spot, nor the distraction to the current club. Dave Dombrowski, and the Red Sox, attempted to bolster the bullpen in acquiring the Mariners’ reliever, but it didn’t pan out. Fortunately, Wade Miley (4.98 ERA) was a colossal bust in Seattle, rendering this trade as a wash for both clubs.
Carson Smith will get a World Series ring for his time with the Red Sox, but he’ll be looking for a new home this offseason.