Say goodbye to closer by committee, as the Boston Red Sox have named their ninth inning man.
In Ron Roenicke‘s media opportunity, he mentioned that the Red Sox would be deploying Brandon Workman as their closer for the upcoming season. After Alex Cora utilized a combination of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, and countless others, the inherent manager will take a more traditional approach to the ninth inning.
After being promoted midway through the season, Workman posted career numbers including a 1.88 ERA, 36.4 K% and collected 16 saves.
Does Roenicke see Workman as closer: ‘I think so. … I think he deserves that shot.’ He says he likes generally defined roles, though says he wouldn’t treat roles as rigid. ‘It doesn’t have to be automatic.’— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 12, 2020
While naming Brandon Workman was the simple choice for interim manager, Ron Roenicke, it’s a breath of fresh air from the matchup-based, closer by committee that was deployed last season. After the departure of Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox struggled to find consistency in the ninth inning in 2019; however Workman was able to steady the ship a little towards the end of the season.
The Red Sox closer posted career numbers last season and is due for a bit of regression, though a 2.46 FIP and a .209 BABIP don’t suggest that it was too much of a statistical anomaly. At this point, both Roenicke and Chaim Bloom can turn their focus towards building the rest of the bullpen. Matt Barnes, Marcus Walden, Josh Taylor, and Heath Hembree figure to slot into prominent roles within the back end of the bullpen, while newcomers Austin Brice, Josh Osich, and Chris Mazza will hope to solidify their own roles.
Darwinzon Hernandez should figure to develop into a formidable bullpen option, if that’s indeed the route the organization chooses. Roenicke mentioned the possibility of returning Hernandez to his roots as a starting pitcher, but that remains to be seen. Regardless of the choice, it would be prudent for the club to establish a path for their young arm in Spring Training. Hernandez possesses the ability to become a key piece of the organization’s plans in either route, but he needs to cut down on his BB/9 and be groomed into an established role.
It has been a very murky offseason for the Red Sox, but as the opener against Northeastern draws closer, the club is starting to develop a more-clear path.