Red Sox Trade Target: Sean Doolittle
(Photo Credit: Amber Searls - USA TODAY Sports)
Yup. You guessed it. Another reliever cracks the list of Red Sox trade targets.
This time, the reliever in question is coming from a team in a relatively peculiar spot. Sean Doolittle, as it stands, pitches for the Washington Nationals. A team that, despite losing Bryce Harper, was pegged as the favorite to win the division by many experts around the game.
While their bullpen hasn’t been particularly lights out since the days of Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano, nobody could’ve expected this dumpster fire.
Through the first 59 games of the season for the Nationals, they have quite literally the worst bullpen in the league. Their 6.81 bullpen ERA is, by far, the worst mark in the MLB. In fact, the closest team to them is the Baltimore Orioles, who are 0.97 runs better on their ERA.
But that’s not because of Doolittle, as he is one of just three Nationals pitchers who have made a relief appearance to hold their ERA below 4.00 (3.24). The left-hander has been pretty solid for the fourth-place Nationals, posting 12 saves and a K/9 of 10.8 in 25 appearances.
Why should the Red Sox want him?
The Nationals already have made it clear that they are open to dealing just about anybody on the roster, including Doolittle. While the Red Sox bullpen ERA is still top-10 in the MLB, there is definitely room to grow there. The blown saves are a major cause for concern, as Alex Cora has had to go to a multitude of guys in the ninth inning to try and shut the door on a Red Sox win.
While this philosophy has only burned them a few times, this problem has come more frequently in recent weeks.
Adding a guy like Doolittle, who has pitched in a multitude of roles as a big league reliever, and has pitched in October in four different years to the tune of a 3.00 ERA, makes things a little easier for the Red Sox skipper to bridge from the starter to the end of the game.
What would it take to get him?
Red Sox get: LHP Sean Doolittle
Nationals get: RHP Travis Lakins, OF Marcus Wilson, cash considerations
At the end of the day, losing a piece like Travis Lakins shouldn’t hurt the Boston Red Sox. While he is still young and learning how to be a high leverage reliever, Boston is in no position to sit back and wait. Especially when his biggest issue is commanding the strike zone (only 56 percent strikes thrown this year). Bringing in a proven piece over a project piece is the right move 10 times out of 10, and this should be no exception.
Marcus Wilson came over in the deal that sent Blake Swihart to the Diamondbacks back in April. However, nobody should expect the organization’s No. 21 prospect to be seeing the MLB any time soon. In fact, Wilson was optioned from Double-A Portland to Single-A Salem after 19 games due to his .161/.307/.226 slash-line. Combine that with the loaded Red Sox outfield, and you’ve got yourself another expendable prospect.