The Red Sox have traded minor league pitcher Pat Light to the Minnesota Twins for lefty specialist reliever Fernando Abad.
Well, the Red Sox can at least say they were active today no matter what happens from here, and Abad fills a hole on the roster. Tommy Layne hasn't been getting the job done as the LOOGY. Opposing lefties may have a .688 OPS against him this season--all of one point higher than Abad's career mark--but when that comes with a .355 OBP, the fact is that he's too often simply putting them on base and leaving the Sox with the need to get a righty out. Anyone can offer up an intentional walk.
Robbie Ross Jr. has managed better, despite his 4.06 ERA. A 65% strand rate will do that to you even with a minuscule OPS v.s lefties, but he's been called on more as a full-or-multi-inning guy.
Abad, meanwhile, has been solid against lefties his entire career, and is currently holding them to a .163/.192/.265 line in 2016. He's nothing special, but is certainly in improvement on one of those last spots in the bullpen, and when those can be put towards a specialized purpose, they can even provide dividends in high-leverage spots and big games, even if teams would prefer to paint-by-numbers with an overwhelming back-three.
The Sox also, for what it's worth, get to keep Abad in 2017. That's a nice little bonus considering they're set to lose Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, and the recently acquired Brad Ziegler, even if Carson Smith is on his way back.
In return, they surrender the services of Pat Light. He's got a big arm, and might find his way into a back-end role someday. But to get there, he's going to have to throw strikes, and thus far he hasn't shown the ability to do that. If control comes with time, then hey, the Sox may be missing Light down the line. But for every one of these guys who ends up making it work, you trade away five or six that don't.