Saturday was not one to remember for Boston’s bullpen, which surrendered 11 earned runs in a 17-13 video game loss to the Yankees. Red Sox relievers still rank between seventh and 11th in the majors in FIP, K/BB ratio, win probability added and ERA, though it appears president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will try to upgrade the improve before the July 31 trade deadline. The team’s Dombrowski-led front office has been “quietly surveying the market” for bullpen upgrades, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports.
Fortunately for Boston, there should be no shortage of relievers available over the next month. Tigers closer Shane Greene, whom Dombrowski acquired a few years ago as Detroit’s general manager, figures to be one of them. Three Giants relievers – Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson – as well as White Sox closer Alex Colome are a few more who could be attainable. The Pirates (Felipe Vazquez), Padres (Kirby Yates) and Indians (Brad Hand) could make their closers available, but given the weakness of Boston’s farm system, it might not have the prospect ammunition to win a bidding war for any of those coveted arms.
Having lost closer Craig Kimbrel to free agency, the Red Sox have been operating with a ninth-inning committee this season. Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman have combined for 14 saves, though their success rate has been low, evidenced by 12 failed conversions. As for their individual performances, Brasier has managed a 3.24 ERA despite worrisome peripherals. Barnes has been the opposite, someone whose secondary numbers vastly outshine his ERA. Workman has been good all around, though he has walked upward of six batters per nine. Fellow late-game option Marcus Walden – who leads Red Sox relievers in innings (44) – has also enjoyed an effective season, as has Heath Hembree.
While Hembree has been down since June 14 with a sprained elbow, indications are he isn’t too far from a comeback. Hembree’s return will be a welcome one for the Red Sox, but it doesn’t seem he’ll be the only reinforcement their bullpen lands in the coming weeks.