In a year where the bullpen has been suspect, the Red Sox would be wise to consider all options.
There’s no denying that the Boston Red Sox bullpen has largely been a topic of discussion throughout the early parts of the 2019 season. After failing to add significant pieces in the offseason, the unit has been rather suspect this season past the core of Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, and Marcus Walden. It’s been filled by journeymen relievers, or prospects that have been on the never-ending shuttle from Pawtucket to Boston.
Last week, the Los Angeles Angels decided to cut ties with their struggling closer, Cody Allen. The former closer was struggling to the tune of a 6.26 ERA and a WHIP of nearly 2 (1.91). Truthfully, Allen has been pretty bad this season, but the larger issue was the one year, $8.5 million deal that the Angels gave him and the emergence of two cheaper options in Ty Buttrey and Hansel Robles.
At this point, it may be in the best interest for the Red Sox to explore the possibility of adding the former closer. Yes, he’s been bad in 2019, but the current state of the bullpen is already filled with question marks. Tyler Thornburg still has a roster spot, while Ryan Brasier has regressed heavily from his breakout campaign last season. While the rest of the younger relievers all have minor league options available, there’s legitimate reason to consider Cody Allen.
As a member of the Indians, Allen has valuable postseason experience. In their World Series run, he didn’t allow a run over 13.2 innings while working in tandem with Andrew Miller. He had a couple of bad outings last year, which escalated his numbers, but he possesses a career 3.10 ERA over 20.1 innings in the postseason. Additionally, there’s reason to believe that he needs a change of scenery and could flourish in low leverage spots for the Red Sox.
The majority of his struggles could be pointed to an increased walk rate, as Allen is currently walking 17.2% of batters – which ranks in the bottom 1% of all Major League arms. There’s reason to believe that a WHIP nearing 2 is correctable, but there’s enough question marks to believe that both Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski will stay away.
There will be plenty of suitors for the former closer, past the Boston Red Sox; however he would be worth pursuing for the correct value. If the Angels were to eat the large majority of the salary in exchange for a lower-tiered prospect, it may justify the inquiry. He’s been less-than-stellar in 2019, but when a player with his track record becomes available it’s very clear that he’ll be on another big league roster in a matter of days.