The addition of Addison Reed has lengthened the Red Sox bullpen in a big way, which we discussed earlier in the week after the righty was brought in at the trade deadline. It’s even better now that John Farrell has come out and said (as well as proven) that he won’t tie Reed down to the eighth and will instead use his new setup man wherever the leverage is highest. This is all good news. On Saturday, the Red Sox are expected to give more good news about their bullpen with the return of Joe Kelly. To make room on the active roster, you can expect Austin Maddox to be optioned.
Austin Maddox to be optioned for Joe Kelly. Hanley was walking gingerly. Didn't know if he'd need DL.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) August 5, 2017
If you recall, before going on the disabled list Kelly was working his way to becoming the second-most trusted bullpen arm ahead of Matt Barnes. In fact, he may have already reached that status but the team wasn’t yet comfortable using him two days in a row. John Farrell indicated they were about to lift that restriction before his DL stint, but it’s unclear at this point whether that restriction will stick now that he’s back. Either way, he’s now in an impressive group with Barnes and Brandon Workman to slot in behind Reed on the depth chart. With Carson Smith also set to begin his rehab on Saturday, all of a sudden the Red Sox are looking at a very impressive bullpen.
See you tomorrow, Portland! Excited to get back on the mound and compete.— Carson Smith (@Carson_Smith39) August 4, 2017
It’s also worth noting that this move keeps the Red Sox bullpen with 13 members. Now that Maddox has been optioned, the only way to make room would presumably be to option Brandon Workman or designate Blaine Boyer for assignment. I would be very surprised to see the former happen, and I suspect they’ll want to avoid the latter so they can preserve depth. My assumption is they’ll try to make this work until rosters expand in September. As I wrote about the other day, the versatility of the position players goes a long way towards making this possible.
Also mentioned in Speier’s tweet above is that Hanley Ramirez is dealing with an oblique injury, though the extent of the injury is not clear at this point. It was bad enough to have him lifted from Friday’s game in extra innings, which of course led to Mitch Moreland’s walk off. If Ramirez does go to the disabled list, I’d be interested if the Red Sox went with Sam Travis as their call-up or one of Deven Marrero or Tzu-Wei Lin. Travis would make the most sense as a pure replacement for Ramirez, but this Red Sox infield defense could really use some assistance with the glove. If it is one of Marrero or Lin, expect to see a lot of Chris Young and Brock Holt in the lineup. We’ll keep you posted as more information about Ramirez’ injury comes out.