It is because the Red Sox are in Boston and are lucky enough to play in the same division as the Yankees that we get articles like this telling you how the team could get better. Let me remind you the trade deadline is over a month away and the Red Sox are tied for the most wins in baseball. It isn’t just me though, turn on the radio, open the newspaper, or click on your favorite baseball websites (this better be it) and suggestions are already flowing in for how to put this team over the top.
Whenever trades are discussed the first area that’s brought up is relief help. So far this season the Red Sox bullpen has actually been great. The unit ranks 6th in baseball in bullpen ERA at 3.03 and is 5th in in fWAR at 3.5. The only problem is that the Yankees are one spot better in ERA at 2.88 and their unit ranks first in fWAR at 4.6. Since both teams are currently playing at well above a 100 win pace if the team can add to its already impressive bullpen then the Red Sox can go a long way in minimizing that advantage.
Below I compiled a list of the four most likely relief targets for the Red Sox. These players would all significantly improve the team and are also attainable targets. We would all love to have Kenley Jansen—that just isn’t happening. I factored in how well they have performed, the place in the standings for their current team, the finances of their contracts, and lastly the years of team control they had left to come up with this list. Let me know what you think.
4. Blake Treinen, RHP- Oakland Athletics
Team Control: Through 2020 Salary: $2,150,000 Age: 29
It would take a serious offer from the Red Sox to pry Treinen away from Billy Beane and Co. On the bright side, if the past tells us anything then anyone on the A’s can be had for the right price. The A’s are not winning the division any time soon with Houston in the way. Treinen’s performance on the field has been dominant with a 1.06 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and a 22.1 K-BB% while converting 15 save chances. If multi-inning dominance is what you are after then Treinen is your guy, as 12 of his 27 appearances (44 percent) this year have been longer than an inning, giving him added flexibility. If you haven’t seen Treinen’s sinker go watch some video and then get excited.
3. Zack Britton, LHP- Baltimore Orioles
Team Control: Through 2018 Salary: $12,000,000 Age: 30
The Orioles are a dumpster fire. They also happen to hate the Yankees seemingly more than any other team in the division. If they don’t trade Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Adam Jones, and their other impeding free agents they will play out this meaningless stretch of games and walk for nothing. I offer you this suggestion Baltimore: trade Britton to the Red Sox and restock that middling farm knowing that you helped the Red Sox defeat the Yankees. Sometimes spoiling the season of your arch enemy is worth helping your run of the mill enemy. Sure, Britton has battled injuries the last couple of years, but from 2014-2016 he was arguably the best reliever in baseball. The uncertainty around his health should keep his cost low which favors the Red Sox given their weak system. The Sox could also pay more in prospects to have the Orioles cover some of the remaining $12 million
2. Jeurys Familia, RHP- New York Mets
Team Control: Through 2018 Salary: $7,900,000 Age: 28
If you know a Mets fan, ask them how their season is going. The reply will be comically pessimistic. You’d think they were the Orioles with how they talk about their team. Anyhow, they are not being the Nationals or Braves and Familia is dangerously close to leaving for nothing. Familia has been phenomenal dating back to 2014 and aside from some time on the DL he has been quite good this year too. Though not as flexible as Trienen, Familia does have a history of being able to go more than one inning and would provide a cheaper than Treinen and Britton and a more sure thing than Britton.
1. The Padres Bullpen!!!
Team Control: Depends Salary: $ A lot to a little Age: Varied
So I don’t typically do this, but I can’t really decide who the Sox target would be from this group. What I do know is the Padres are bad, they won’t win the division and they have a stacked bullpen. The Padres were also one of the teams who almost drafted Jay Groome: perhaps there is still interest there. A package centered on Groome and other assets may land the Red Sox elite closer Brad Hand—a truly dominant lefty under control through 2021. If Hand isn’t on the market or is too expensive the team also has Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen, and Adam Cimber. All three of those righties are having excellent seasons and have cheap contracts with control beyond 2018. Maybe the Anderson Espinoza/Drew Pomeranz trade debacle makes this relationship too strained for a trade, but my inclination is that these frequent trade partners will once again do the dance and make it happen.