It was one thing when Tanner Houck wasn’t available as a starter while the Red Sox were in Toronto. But not having your closer while facing one of the best lineups in baseball might be too big of an issue to ignore.
On the heels of a blown comeback win, Houck’s absence is very front of mind. To the point it led to this trade proposal from Lou Merloni:
For those who aren’t keeping close tabs on the Pirates, Bednar became their closer this season after serving as one of their setup men in 2021. He posted a 2.23 ERA last season, and he has that mark all the way down to 1.78 in 2022. The right-hander does a good job of getting hitters to chase pitches out of the zone, which has helped lead to a 36% strikeout rate this year.
However, when hitters do make contact off of Bednar, they don’t hit it on the ground often. Also, the 27-year-old recently started dealing with a lower-back issue. (Then there’s always the intangible question: Can Bednar make the transition from a small-market team to Boston?)
Given Boston’s general long-term approach, it’s hard to imagine this move coming to fruition — especially if the Red Sox think there’s even the slightest chance Houck moves back into the starting rotation someday.