The Red Sox have already made their move in the lineup by acquiring Eduardo Nuñez, and while there’s certainly an argument to be made that they should look to upgrade other parts of their lineup, too, they aren’t likely to do so. Instead, their plan is to focus on the bullpen. Many names have already jumped out as possibilities on this front, and on Thursday night a new one emerged in the form of Twins closer Brandon Kintzler.
This is the first we’ve heard of Kintzler being available, mostly because the Twins have spent most of the year leading their division or at least within spitting distance of first place in the American League Central. They’ve had a rough stretch of late, though, and that’s leading them to lean towards selling prior to the deadline.
Kintzler has been the team’s closer since last season and is one of the least exciting ninth inning arms in all of baseball. Although his talent level is probably not suited to lead a bullpen, he’s better than one may think just by looking at his strikeout rate than consistently finishes under six per nine innings. Where the righty really thrives is in inducing weak contact and ground balls. It seems as if the Red Sox may be interested in this type of pitcher who gives different looks than the fireballers that already occupy the back of their bullpen. Although Pat Neshek -- who was recently traded to Colorado — isn’t a ground ball pitcher, he is more of a junkballer who relies on finesse rather than overpowering his opponents.
Acquiring Kintzler would give John Farrell a different look to turn to late in games. Specifically, his ground ball tendencies could be a huge boon in situations where the team desperately needs a double play. The Red Sox pitching staff is currently the most flyball-heavy staff in baseball, so a ground baller wouldn’t be repetitive. Kintzler is also set to hit free agency after this season ends, so the price to acquire the righty shouldn’t be exorbitant.
With all of that being said, I’m still in the camp that they should be looking primarily at left-handed options and that Justin Wilson is the best option. Kintzler would likely be a cheaper option, though, and is at the very least a new name to add to the list of potential Red Sox targets.