The Red Sox have been surprisingly silent on the bullpen market this winter despite the fact that Joe Kelly has left for the Dodgers and Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned — seemingly likely to land with another organization as well, based on comments from Boston president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes (subscription required), however, that the Sox are confident in a number of internal options. Recent draftees Travis Lakins (sixth round, 2015) and Durbin Feltman (third round, 2018) could both emerge at the MLB level in 2019, while many in the Red Sox’ analytics department are intrigued by trade pickup Colten Brewer (whom the Sox tried to acquire last summer as well, Olney notes). Tyler Thornburg represents a notable bounceback option, as well. It’s nonetheless jarring to see the Sox take a passive approach to rounding out the ’pen on the heels of a World Series championship. Perhaps there’s yet another move in store with several relievers still available (MLBTR Free Agent Tracker link), but it seems likely that the Boston ’pen will have to prove its share of naysayers wrong in 2019.
Here’s more from the division…
- Orioles southpaw Richard Bleier tells Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com that he believes he’ll be ready to roll for the start of the 2019 season. That’s great news for the O’s, as Bleier had been a revelatory hurler before suffering a major injury to his lat. Already 31 years of age, Bleier certainly qualifies as a late bloomer. He’s also an outlier, having now made it through 119 MLB innings with a sub-2.00 ERA despite averaging just 4.1 strikeouts per nine. A big 63.3% groundball rate and low 1.6 BB/9 walk rate go a long way toward explaining the results. Before he can get back to disproving those who question the sustainability of that success, Bleier will need to show he’s back to full health. For the O’s, it would help quite a bit if he can do so. After all, Bleier could be quite a nice trade asset this summer or in the winter to come, especially since he’s still shy of reaching arbitration eligibility.
- The Blue Jays’ signing of Freddy Galvis this week was tied to the club’s uncertainty about the glovework of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. As Davidi explores at length, the Jays are wary of poor infield defense at a time when they’re developing numerous young pitchers and when rotation holdovers Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are heavy ground-ball pitchers. Gurriel has more offensive upside than Galvis but could be squeezed for playing time with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Brandon Drury and Devon Travis all still factoring into the infield mix. There have been suggestions that Gurriel could land in the outfield eventually, but as Davidi outlines, that already crowded mix is further muddied with the now-out-of-options Dalton Pompey surprisingly still on the roster. It’s a comprehensive look at a crowded roster, though surely injuries and Spring Training roster moves could eventually impact how things play out. It’s also worth noting that Gurriel still has a minor league option remaining.
- Juan Toribio of MLB.com tackles a number of questions on the Rays’ roster in his latest Inbox column, highlighting several battles for Opening Day roster spots while also writing that the Rays look unlikely to add another free-agent reliever this offseason. That, he notes, could open the door for Triple-A standout Colin Poche to crack the big league roster either out of camp or early in the season. The Rays, as Toribio notes, are rife with infield depth both on the 25-man roster and in the upper minors but are also cognizant that their projected group of 2019 infielders is lacking experience. So while players such as Christian Arroyo and Kean Wong don’t have clear paths to the Majors at the moment, Tampa Bay is likely to hang onto its depth. Arroyo, once a top prospect with the Giants and the key player received in last winter’s Evan Longoria trade, struggled through a lost season in 2018 and still has a minor league option remaining.
Pompey better not be the reason Gurriel is squeezed of playing time.
That would be stupid.
That makes zero sense. Think before you type.
“There have been suggestions that Gurriel could land in the outfield eventually, but as Davidi outlines, that already crowded mix is further muddied with the now-out-of-options Dalton Pompey surprisingly still on the roster.”
Read the article before you type.
You’re right. After all, the writers of MLBTR make the roster decisions for the team.
“…Pompey is out of options and the Blue Jays continue to insist that he still has some industry value – he has all the physical tools to be a dynamic player – so it makes you wonder if they’d consider breaking camp with him if he shows well. The team has invested lots of effort in Pompey over the past three years and is wary of seeing him blossom somewhere else.”
So hostile over nothing, man. I’m sorry I took the article at face value
In 5 years he’s had 150 ABs at the MLB level. Keep believing everything you read sheep.
Baaaa, concussions. Baaaaa, other injuries. Baaaaaa
JD, goats and sheep sound the same. Wasn’t there a fairy tale about Trolls and goats?
Josh Donaldson only had 120 more AB’s at the same age. By your logic the A’s should have DFA’d him. I could easily see Pompey taking Teoscar’s spot in the outfield and sending Teoscar to DH.
Other than what is written, what have you heard to the contrary?
Jesus dude, who hurt you. Poor cuck
JD you did the right thing. Buck and Tabler spoke last year about the organization feeling Gurriel’s athleticism can transition to the outfield. This article does not surprise me. Coldbeer knows he was out of line and doesn’t want to admit it.
Fact is this is even worse than the scenario that played in my head 24 hours ago. Leave Gurriel alone and let him play until he shows he can’t. How can young players develop when jobber veterans take up spots?
wow coldbeer…..you’re a tool
Coming from the guy who gave himself the moniker “iron mike”…lol
ouch……you got me. coldbeer strikes again.
I agree JDGoat, seems to me that he’s essentially saying that the only thing that’ll hold Gurriel back is his glove. They need solid gloves behind their young and ground ball pitchers.
That’s why he mentioned a possible switch to OF is unlikely as well, it’s crowded. Probably just mentioned Pompey amongst them, more for fan interest than anything, however no harm if Pompey all of a sudden figures it out and does well. He has the tools. If he fails, no loss either.
It makes perfect sense in today’s game of maximizing control years. Jays are not competing for the playoffs in 2019 so they probably want to space out the clock on their supposed stud young players. If they still believe in Pompey, why lose him if you don’t have to? Give him another shot. Sox kept Sweihart last year and still won it all.
I wouldn’t mind them playing Pompey even to build some value for a trade. He did do well in the world baseball classic until he got injured. I would still rather see Gurriel play over Galvis.
Agreed, JD. Enough of the Pompey experiment.
I’d rather see Pompey play than freakin’ Freddie Galvis
I understand why they want galvis to galvanize the infield D. (Pun intended) given alot of our starters are ground ball guys
If Pompey takes anyone’s spot it should be Teoscar.
Trade Pillar. Have an OF of McKinney in LF Pompey in CF and Guerriel in RF
The outfield D is sufficient and the INF D improves with Galvis up the middle
Usually injuries sort these type of problems out. I’d put Gurriel Jr at 2B. You look at Devon Travis and he has some serious questions about staying healthy the last few seasons and really only looked good in 2016. Galvis is a no brainner at SS with his glove. Vlad Jr at 3B. I’d try and develop Drury as a super sub Zobrist type player with the best case scenerio that he may push his way into an everyday role playing a different position everyday.
And as good as the hype is about Vlad Jr, everyone needs to remember that Trout and Rizzo both struggled in their 1st couple of months at MLB and were both sent back down to AAA to work on a few things. Does this mean Vlad Jr will? No, but it’s a possibility and wouldn’t be the end of the world. Anthony Rizzo and Mike Trout did and they turned out ok. Than you have Drury and Deon Travis on hand to pick up a few at bats. Best case scenerio you have a potential ROY at 3B and Devon Travis and Drury as your bench IF depth and picking up at bats at DH.
If Vlad jr struggles in may/June you’re going to see A LOT of fans jumping off the CN tower.
Hes been touted as an Acuna/Soto type player.
Fans in TO buy the hype
Hello Snider Hello Adams
every fan base buys the hype about their prospects. Every team has had a Travis Snider
We get so few true legit superstar players that I feel we value our top prospects with a different light
The kind where if they miss . It hurts much more
yeah you definitley have a point there. Stud prospects are few and far between up here.
Bad drafting and bad minor league development. Ricciardi fired a lot of scouts within his first year and the franchise has suffered.
Gurriel might not be good.
He can hit, for sure. Just needs more time to develop.
the same can be said about plenty of players.
Travis and Pompey will both be DFAd. My guess is they are only placeholding spots on the 40 man roster for Vlad and a yet to be named LH reliever.
April infield: Drury, Galvis, Travis with Gurriel floating.
After Vlad arrives in May: Drury gets traded, Gurriel gets sent down or Travis gets released. Latter obviously most likely unless performance forces their hand.
Most likely not. If the Jays are prepared to release Travis in May they may as well have non-tendered him.
Get Bleier in touch with Colon
That’d be perfect for him
If Kimbrell ends up considering a 3 year deal, The Cardinals would be silly not to go all in after him.
Free Clay Zavada
In this extreme buyers market, it’s foolish to go all in for anything. If the Cards want Kimbrel they can have him at their price
in a market where the players arent getting as much as they expected, it’s also very easy to outbid another team and still get a good deal on a guy.
I think Dombrowski is smart on this. Not many are talking about the 3 kids in the minors- Hernandez, Feltman, and Lakins, all of whom could be in Boston this year. Kimbrel still out there. I think Barnes is coming into his own and can be a real weapon. This is an area that can be acquired mid season if needed, and likely one of the catchers will be dealt.
All true, and they’ve still got plenty of fungible middle relief righties in AAA to cycle through and see who works out. Still, when you look at Robertson settling for a two-year deal, it’s hard to fathom why they didn’t grab him. They’d definitely be better (he’d be taking 60 innings from their worst relievers not their better ones), they’d probably save a lot of money on Barnes when he goes to arbitration with 30 fewer saves per year, and Robertson’s money would come off the books right when the Brinks truck pulls up in Mookie’s driveway
Remember they also need flexibility in season and while they will never count pennies, 50% tax tacks on a lot very quickly. I’ve wanted Kimbrel back but if not, they can always adjust mid-season. The team still has injury concerns with Sale, Wright, Rodriguez, Pedie and Nunez. 20% of the expected 25 man opening day roster. Add in career years in 18 from Holt, JDM, Mookie and Xman and you can understand they may still need to make roster moves outside of call ups. 2018 was as perfect a year as possible. Team will be again in the hunt but to win it all, flexibility at the trade deadline might be needed.
Exactly..and with the inevitable trade of one of the 3 catchers.. the RS will no doubt add to the pen in any of those deals..and are not looking to add payroll that will be needed for in season acquisitions.
I think it’s quite interesting to see how close Barnes and Kimbrel’s numbers were, besides hits allowed. Same number of innings, walks and Ks. If Barnes got a little luckier on balls in play he could basically just step right in to that role.
Totally different situations though. A lot more pressure on Kimbrel than Barnes
Bingo. Based on his history I had big expectations for Kimbrel but he was only consistently lights out in 17. In 16 and 18, his walks had be concerned. I was in his corner mainly because outside of the playoffs, Kelly and Barnes were even worse.
Agreed. Also now that Thornburg is healthy we’ll get to see if he can prove to be a valuable asset this year. That would certainly be a boost. I’ll be interested to see which of the catchers gets moved too, I would guess it will either be Vasquez or Swihart.
DD’s lack of concern for the RS pen sounds familiar; he was also responsible for the Tiger’s disastrous closers. A contender should NEVER depend on minor league arms.
Problem is $$. In order to keep their pending free agents that they want to resign, it originally came down to Eovaldi or a closer. Now that Kimbrel’s price appears to be getting less than expected, time will tell. I thought getting a starter was more important with Porcello and Sale in their last year.
He just got a ring and the bullpen was considered a weakness then. If their rotation shows up, big money invested there, they dont need a power pen. They have more than enough if the rotation does its job.
Yanks improved, Sox did not…
Yanks slightly improved in pitching, but took a step back with position players.
You must be thinking of a different Yankee team than all the rest of us!
Front line pitching improved with their Seattle acquisition and while the bullpen traded some pieces it looks as if that will be a strength again.
As far as position players, how do not account the acquisition of La Maheiw as a positive…..the position players they didn’t keep were just fill-ins….not front line players.
Gregorius/Walker is probably a lot better than Lemahieu/Tulo, especially if Torres is the one getting everyday SS reps. But their pitching is upgraded substantially.
The acquisition of Paxton comes with huge health questions, another year of an older CC/health concerns, Happ is an upgrade..slightly better. BP is seriously gonna miss Robertson, and who knows about Ottavino handling the AL East, and Britton wasn’t exactly a world beater last year.
If you call LaMayieu the positive than here’s the negative, Didi’s replacement, LF questions, and first base..overall a step back
Yanks are chasing the defending champs, they needed to. Boston did not. They wont be 108 wins good but they’ll be playoff team good and see what happens in October. They are making deals or not with a longer term plan in mind.
Well if you compare Boston’s relief options compared to The Rays, Tampa is clearly better with more experince! We have Aquavedo (L) and Castillo (R) throwing smoke with a MLB year experience closing! Along with openers who can be 7-9th inning options. The Rays minors pitching is stacked as well. No reason for the Rays to acquire anyone. The Sox-not so much.
I think the Sox are quietly considering Eovaldi as a closer option – contingency.
Better off getting 7 innings out of him every 5 days rather than 2-3 innings every 5 days. In addition, the money he got was definitely not for being a closer.
Money is a reckless endeavour in Boston, a team not known for restraint. I question Eovaldi’s durability over a 30-start campaign. He’s got closer tools. I understand they signed him to start, but the odd bullpen silence out of Boston suggests a plan-B is ready and waiting. I just can’t imagine a team that won 108 games last year is so indifferent to who pitches the ninth. Offering Eovaldi as a closer option is no less absurd than Brasier, Thornburg, various other “intriguing” minor leaguers, Wright-the-knuckler, and company in that same spot. Worst would be closer-by-committee (the horrors of Chad Fox remain).
They didnt give him $17M per year for a role he has not done but refuse to give less per year for someone who has been successful at it for years. If Eovaldi needs to be shut down to a 1 inning reliever before the last year of his deal, it’ll be a bad deal. Sox are smarter than all these befuddled writers. Try out the several guys mentioned and if none step up to the role trade for a guy in July. Smart.
who cares how much money he’s making. he’s already been guaranteed it, so they might as well use him as they see fit. if they think they’ll do better with him as the closer, then he will be the closer.
After reading the comments near the top, well, did I not allude to Galvis potentially starting for the Jays? I asked why he’d choose to sign with Toronto, and this story about Gurriel could be a reason.
Never did I expect this. Yes Gurriel did have his struggles at SS. He also showed flashes of potential. This team is GOING NOWHERE! LET THE KID PLAY!! Utter stupidity on the part of the decision makers to panic over Gurriel. Fellas, you’re probably losing 90 games. Relax. Let the young guys sink or swim. Again, create room for Tellez too.
For those saying Gurriel can hit, you are ok with him not walking much? Because I am fine with him not taking walks so long as he hits .280+. Moreover, Gurriel made strides at the plate so why can’t he make strides defensively? And if he is not the shortstop, you want .949 fielding percentage Bo Bichette at short?
As for Pompey, he can leave. Jonathan Davis can take his place.
“Utter stupidity on the part of the decision makers to panic over Gurriel.”
Why is the Galvis signing stupid?
How does this signal panic whatsoever?
1. You paid $4 mil (5 guaranteed) for an all-glove, no stick veteran with zero future with this team.
2. The Galvis signing is a message to Gurriel that he’s not the SS of the future. He hasn’t done anything to deserve that treatment. He’s not Russ Adams.
3. Gurriel is supposedly a future piece. Travis is not. Neither is Drury. To target Gurriel is unnecessary and unwarranted.
4. If Gurriel is moving to the OF, why didn’t he play there last year?
5. Did the small sample size of playing time tell front office Gurriel can’t be a SS in the big leagues?
6. Why hasn’t front office moved an OF to open space for Gurriel (or Pompey, potentially). If the Jays plan to carry 8 bullpen arms that leaves 3 bench spots: Maile, Galvis, McKinney.
7. You signed Eric Sogard. That is your utility player. A much cheaper version of Galvis.
8. What is the point of having a vet steal at bats from younger players in-need of at bats?
9. If Gurriel isn’t your SS, will he go back to AAA to play everyday?
10. If he’s in AAA, why?
11. Why are these thoughts being provoked? Oh yeah, because the Jays signed a player they didn’t need to fill a need they don’t need filled.
I can continue on but you might want to fetch another cold beer, coldbeer.
If #1 is true and Galvis is not part of the long term plan, like Gurriel is, then #2 cannot be true. Basically all of your other points are based off of your illogical first points.
Gurriel should not be handed the starting SS job unless he earns it. Same with Travis. Enter Galvis.
And, Galvis is an ironman so if he can keep the bat at least where its been throughout his career (or ideally better) and his glove is still strong as it’s been then he can be moved at the trade deadline for futures and, voila, Gurriel is there everyday again.
Gurriel did show he can’t handle short. How do you know Travis isn’t moved or benched and Gurriel plays second every day? I think the plan has always been for Gurriel to be a utility guy, didn’t he play 2nd 3rd SS and LF in the minors? I agree Gurriel shouldn’t be sent down but I don’t agree that it’s a given he isn’t getting everyday at bats. Having a good defender as short is important for the development and confidence of the young pitchers, Gurriel can get his at bats at another position
How has Gurriel not earned it? By that logic the Jays should have just given the SS position to Tulowitzki if healthy. Since they are paying him $20-mil and $14-mil the next two years.
The attitude portion of Tulowitzki is a total fabrication. Not buying that crap for a second. I don’t mind what he said so long as he was prepared to live up to his words.
Again, right contract wrong team. There is no need for Galvis on the Toronto Blue Jays. #2 was said because of what this article has alluded to. I cannot believe we are talking about Gurriel and his glovework. Yeah he needs to improve – BY PLAYING EVERYDAY!!!! Sogard would have been a fine backup. Galvis should not touch the field. However, at his salary they will justify it by playing him. Again, not on this team. Jays do not need ironmen they need young players to develop at the big league level. Can’t do that on the bench.
I don’t know too much about Pompey but I wonder if the Pirates might be a good fit for him if the Jays want to move him for a reasonable return. They certainly need more than Lonnie Chisenhall and J.B. Shuck to fill in until Gregory Polanco returns from injury.
Please take on Pompey. Pretty please.
Hes not as bad as most make him out to be.
Outside of making solid contact he does everything else above average.
Hes been slowed by injuries over and over
Give him one last crack this year, I bet he surprises you
He’s not a good defender. Poor route runner.
He’s not a bright human being. It explains his poor route running, lack of hitting development and not being able to stick in the major leagues. Not to sound like Jimmer, but I do know people in the organization that can attest to his lack of mental baseball fortitude.
Jays haven’t developed a bunter in years.
Good speed. I agree with you on that.
Look, because the Jays are going nowhere this year I can stomach Pompey as the 4th OF. I think it’s time to move on and give that role to Davis with Mckinney starting in AAA.
I disagree on his D. But that’s ok. I still enjoy reading your comments.
In my opinion the main reason he isn’t getting a shot is Pillar. Had Pillar shown any regression in D Pompey was waiting in the wings
They came up together, Pompey was the CF and Pillar LF
then Pillar took one away hoping up the fence on Jackie Robinson day 4 years ago. At that time Pompey was seen as the superior defender except Pompey couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat to start that year
The rest is history
I remember it well Turner. Heading into 2015 Pillar was out of options and there were rumors of him being cut loose. I could never understand that because I thought he was better than Anthony Gose. But the dugout incident hurt him in 2014, and hurt him more than it should have. Jays organization overreacted to it, badly.
Michael Saunders injury may have saved Pillar (we will never know).
Pillar was never thought of highly by the organization. He played his way in. As a fan of the Jays, I can appreciate that.
It’s refreshing to hear Jays commentary from knowledgeable fans unburdened by the public relations firm of Rogers & Sportsnet.
^Preach! Not about to slurp the koolaid, GL.
Boston is just waiting out Kimbrel until his absurd contract demands come down to earth. Look at every other reliever who has signed this offseason…most are three year deals. He’s not as good as good as he thinks he is and definitely not worth top closer money.
I hope he re-signs with Boston so that I can continue hating him and his crappy weirdo windup thing at max level for years to come.
Glad to see Bleier getting some recognition, it would be cool to see him pitch for a contending team.
I like perseverance stories like his, where it takes a guy until around his 30’s before he makes it full time in the big leagues. In his case, it took 10 seasons and 4 previous organizations before getting a full time gig with the Orioles.
Kimbrel should sign with yanks just to stick it to Boston
Why would he want to stick it to Boston? And why would Boston feel “stuck at” if the Yankees ended up giving him the best offer (which is highly likely to be how he chooses his next team)?
Kimbrel signing with the Yanks would be sticking it to the Yanks. That guy is a heart attack waiting to happen, and all for about 15 million dollars a year? Ok Cash, go get him.
Vlad first MLB game prediction, if healthy, April 26th
2 doubles, a warning track fly out and a K
theyll do the same thing the cubs did with kris bryant, most likely.
Gurriel is a long term fixture with the Jays at 2b (SS until Bichette is ready). He has done enough in the MLB to be given more chances. Pompey hasn’t done anything and may never produce in the MLB.
If the Jays aren’t satisfied with Gurriel’s glove at SS, they should just move him to 2b permanently now – especially since we know that Travis will be injured by game #4 of the season.
I’m beginning to think someone from the front office (Atkins) had a conversation with Tulowitzki prior to his comments alluding to Gurriel potentially not being the guy at SS. It would further explain everything that was said by Troy, motivated to reclaim the position. If he couldn’t beat out a guy the organization doesn’t see as the SS of the future, it would make the Tulo comments make more sense.
If someone’s better, I’ll go home. If that someone is a player that’s not a long term shortstop, it would be time for a former all-star shortstop to go home.
I am convinced this private conversation happened and Tulo was made aware of this either by management or his agent.