Having acquired Andrew Cashner over the weekend and with Nathan Eovaldi looking close to returning ahead of a move to the bullpen, the Red Sox are in a better situation pitching-wise than they were a week ago, but they may not be done.
With the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reporting that Boston may still be in the market for another arm and the rotation fairly set, it seems that Dave Dombrowski is again evaluating the reliever market with two weeks to go before the trade deadline.
The Giants are set to sell, and as a result Will Smith has emerged as one of the top relievers available ahead of the deadline, as the Giants are rumored to be in trade talks with the Brewers over Smith, who’s posted a 2.11 ERA in 38.1 innings out of the bullpen in San Francisco, striking out 54. If a move to Milwaukee doesn’t materialize, Smith would be a great option for a Red Sox team without a legit lefty out of the pen, though it would take some doing.
ESPN’s David Schoenfield suggested the Red Sox go after Ian Kennedy, who’s been solid for the Royals this season. If Dombrowski wants to go back to the Baltimore well, Mychal Givens should be available as well, and if you look past his middling surface numbers, he could be a useful bullpen arm.
MLB.com’s Joe Frisario mentioned Saturday that the Marlins have a triumvirate of relievers that could be on the move, in Austin Brice, Jarlin Garcia and Nick Anderson, as Miami is another team that could position itself as sellers.
It’s unlikely that the Red Sox are going to go out and get a shutdown closer that’ll fix the bullpen entirely — they’re probably not selling the farm again (if there is a big enough farm to sell) to make an Andrew Miller/Aroldis Chapman-type blockbuster we saw in 2016. However, there’s plenty of potential to get one more arm that could be more reliable in medium-leverage situations — a more reliable Ryan Brasier or Heath Hembree than a Kenley Jansen or Edwin Diaz — that, combined with Eovaldi, could make the Boston bullpen just effective enough to contend.