Leandre: Don’t Expect a ‘Big’ Move from Dombrowski

(Photo Credit: Jim Rogash - Getty Images)

If there is one word that can best be used to describe Red Sox President Dave Dombrowski, aggressive would probably be that word.

That could be depicted by paying oodles of money to the likes of David Price, or blowing up the farm system for offseason acquisitions like Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel, and even Tyler Thornburg.

However, if there’s one recurring theme in the Dombrowski tenure, it’s that none of his in-season acquisitions have been ones the fans, or the media could see coming. Particularly when it comes to the bullpen.

If you go back as far as 2016, you might remember the Brad Ziegler acquisition. However, not only did the interest seem to go unreported, but the trade happened overnight between July 8 and 9.

Then look at 2017 and the Addison Reed trade. The Red Sox acquired the right-hander from the Mets in another minimally-reported acquisition. It seems as if Dombrowski has it set in his mind that he won’t be getting into bidding wars with other teams, considering the state of the Red Sox farm system could be deemed in “critical” condition.

The likelihood of another trade deadline coming and going without the Red Sox acquiring relief help is very slim. While Boston has a bullpen tied for fifth in fWAR (2.9), and the fifth-best bullpen ERA in the MLB (3.88), they’re also tied for the second-most blown saves in the MLB with 14.

Only the Mets, who have a bullpen ERA 1.49 runs worse than Boston, have more blown saves.

However, don’t expect Dombrowski to go out and trade for a superstar bullpen ace at the deadline this season. It just doesn’t seem feasible with the state of the farm system, on top of the level of importance for relief at an all-time high.

Keep your eye on these names when July 31 rolls around:

Nick Wittgren – Cleveland Indians – 2.84/2.54/3.04 (ERA/FIP/xFIP), 9.6 K/9, 1.4 BB/9

Ian Kennedy – Kansas City Royals – 3.60/2.10/3.50, 11.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 9 SVs

Cam Bedrosian – LA Angels – 2.48/3.42/3.89, 10.4 K/9, 3.96 BB/9

Nick Anderson – Miami Marlins – 4.75/2.90/2.66, 15.1 K/9, 3.9 BB/9

Hansel Robles – LA Angels – 3.06/2.91/4.23, 9.2 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 11 SVs

Austin Adams – Seattle Mariners – 1.84/2.01/2.45, 14.7 K/9, 3.7 BB/9*

Cory Gearrin – Seattle Mariners – 4.55/3.78/4.53, 9.8 K/9, 4.6 BB/9

(*as a reliever)

Remember this: Perhaps more important than having an elite closer is having formidable roles for everyone in the bullpen. You can play matchups and have a closer by committee if you have the arms at your disposal.

Adding any of these guys can give you an extra arm that could also contribute in the ninth, but also allows Alex Cora to use Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Brandon Workman more freely.


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