Could Red Sox Add Relief Via Free Agency?
(Allen Credit: WKYC.com) (Reed Credit: MLBTradeRumors.com)
“The bullpen stinks.” “Should have re-signed Craig Kimbrel.” “Why is Heath Hembree the best reliever on this team?”
Just a few statements that have been consistently ringing through Red Sox Nation since the first home-stand of the season. While each of those emotions felt at various points through the season thus far, the Red Sox still have the seventh-best fWAR in the game amongst bullpens (2.7).
That being said, having legitimate confidence in this bullpen moving forward is nothing short of blind optimism that they can all sustain their peak potential.
And while the likes of Colten Brewer, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman have all shown flashes of brilliance, none of them have shown it over the course of a full MLB season yet.
But while people on Twitter are clamoring for Dave Dombrowski to make a panic-trade at the deadline for the likes of Shane Greene and/or Will Smith, there are a couple of free agent options that wouldn’t cost more than salary and a 40-man roster spot.
Let’s take a look at who’s still out there, shall we?
The Red Sox were rumored to be interested in Cody Allen prior to him signing a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels this offseason. However, the 30-year-old right-hander was nothing short of disappointing to the Angels faithful as he posted a 6.26 ERA in 25 appearances for the Halos.
In fact, he was so underwhelming that the team designated him for assignment on Sunday.
The reason he makes sense for this Red Sox team is the fact that it literally cannot hurt them anymore to have him on the roster. In fact, three pitchers that remain on the 40-man roster have ERAs worse than Allen in 2019 (Josh Taylor, Bobby Poyner, and Tyler Thornburg).
So, at worst, Allen is brought in to pitch mop-up duty and is just a flashier name than Taylor, Poyner, or Thornburg. However, we’ve all season Cody Allen at his best. The right-hander is just two years removed from his last 30-save season and has posted 24 or more saves in each of his last five seasons.
On a presumptive minor-league deal––should he be released––it literally cannot hurt the Red Sox to sign Cody Allen.
The next one on the list is a familiar face to Red Sox fans. Dave Dombrowski traded for Addison Reed during the 2017 season; and the right-hander proceeded to go 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 27 innings for Boston.
A 3.33 ERA that is very deceptive, considering he had an appearance in which he allowed four earned runs without recording an out against the Yankees, and then another outing against the Bronx Bombers where he allowed three earned over 0.1 innings. If you were to remove those two appearances, Reed went 1-0 with a 1.01 ERA with the Red Sox in 2017.
Reed, unlike Allen, hasn’t thrown a pitch in the MLB in 2019. In fact, he had been rehabbing in Triple-A Rochester when he got designated for assignment back on May 16. In his five appearances for the Twins affiliate, he had an abysmal 14.40 ERA and a 2.800 WHIP –– bad enough for the Twins to pay him $8.5 million to just go away.
Reed knows what pitching in Boston is like, and has succeeded in the City of Champions before. Another guy who’d likely be signing a minor-league deal, it can’t hurt for Dave Dombrowski to see what the 30-year-old has to offer.
Maybe it’s nothing, but the fact of the matter is he needs to address the bullpen one way or another.