Red Sox Trade Target: Francisco Liriano

Photo: Troy Taormina USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox acquired their first pitcher of deadline season on Wednesday when they traded for Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays.

However, the biggest need still rests in the bullpen for baseball’s best team in 2018. Even with the third-best team ERA in the game—at 3.51—it’s taken another stellar season from Craig Kimbrel, and a breakout season from Matt Barnes to hide the real issues vesting in the bullpen.

After losing out on Zach Britton, experts and fans are quick to jump to more big names that the Red Sox should be interested in acquiring at the deadline. Even though the Red Sox have the 25th ranked farm system in baseball, people still think Boston has the tools to win a bidding war with contending teams.

The Red Sox need to take a ‘Moneyball’ approach to this trade deadline and look at a guy who won’t cost much to acquire—somebody like Francisco Liriano. The left-handed pitcher hasn’t had a solid season by any means for Detroit, as he is 3-5 with a 4.62 ERA in 16 starts this year. However, he’s perfect for the current hole in the Red Sox bullpen as a lefty specialist.

Liriano is holding left-handed batters to a slash line of .113/.214/.210/.424 in 70 plate appearances against him. Now, if one looked at just that slash line, you’d think Liriano was having a great season for the Tigers. It’s all about perspective, and the 34-year-old out of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic could very much be one of the best left-handed pitchers on the market now that Zach Britton has been dealt to New York.

The Red Sox need to fill voids with cheap, effective options. They don’t have the farm to unload for elite pitching this July, so picking up a guy like Liriano would be great. Plus his career as a starter means he could give Boston multiple innings come October when starters’ nights are shortened in order to preserve close games.

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