One Thing I'd Change From The Offseason

I would have gone harder for a lefty reliever in FA or via the trade market, and probably ultimately would have signed Tony Watson.

Going into the winter, obviously our biggest need was a big, power bat and our main targets were JD Martinez or Giancarlos Stanton (via trade). Stanton went to NYY (yuck), but we managed to finally nab JD Martinez in February, and I'd say he's been pretty decent for us.

Another need we had at the time was a lefty reliever, and it honestly surprised me that the Red Sox and Dombrowski didn't even seem to try hard in acquiring one during the winter/early spring. I'm not saying it was an absolute dire need, but going into the season the only guy we had was Scott and to be honest I think most of us had our doubts about how he'd do after he slipped at the end of last year, and behind Scott we didn't really have another guy for depth.

Of course, Poyner surprised us in Spring Training and got the major league call up, and he did do fairly well for us but unfortunately only received a small stint and after a mediocre outing, was sent down and essentially stayed down the rest of the season (besides just one call up for a few days to provide a "depth body" before being sent down again ASAP). Poyner should get a lot more chances in September though, so that's nice.

But imagine... what could have been if we had signed Tony Watson, and to a similar deal like he signed with the Giants (3 years, 9M with a player option the 3rd year for 2.5M). Watson wasn't the best reliever available in the winter, but he was arguably the best lefty one available, and to me he's very underrated and was also underrated in the FA market it seems.

One huge positive about Watson is, he's been consistently good his entire career and hasn't had a truly horrible year (except in his rookie season back in 2011). I know W-L records for pitchers isn't a stat taken too seriously, but it's no coincidence to me that his career numbers are 37-22, with a career 2.69 ERA. He had a 2.15 ERA THIS season just a few days ago before he threw a rare stinker vs. NYM, but even after giving up 4 ER in an inning, his ERA is still a very nice 2.77. He has a 1.08 WHIP for the year, and has a 2.0 BB/9 ratio (really good, and would help us since walks can be an issue at times for our pen). Oh, and in 12 career postseason innings (spanning 3 total postseasons), he has a 2.25 ERA and has been reliable, which would have helped us tremendously too.

The Red Sox seem so desperate to try to find a reliable lefty reliever that they keep throwing Pomeranz out there, even in high leverage situations, to hope he can "ease in" and become that guy in the playoffs. I just don't see it, and especially not with his velocity drops DURING outings and his curveball looking hittable. If it's something where the Sox may have to choose between 2 of Pomeranz/Workman/Brasier, then I'm scared that they are going to take Pomeranz and not 1 of the other two just because he's a lefty. We wouldn't have this problem if we had signed someone like Watson in FA for that price.

And even if you want to overlook the lefty-righty conundrum, Watson would easily be our 2nd or 3rd best reliever in the BP, and would give us another consistent, legitimate high-leverage option along with Barnes and Kimbrel currently.

Now I know folks will argue that they didn't go after another lefty reliever because they didn't want to surpass the 237M, but lets be honest, did it matter? We still surpassed it anyways and Dombrowski acknowledged this in a press conference (even though we didn't make too many high-salary acquisitions at the deadline). Most reports said we were teetering very close to 237M even at the beginning of the season, so doing so (staying under 237M) would have been difficult anyways unless we made ZERO trades before the deadline. At 3/9M or something similar, Watson would have been such a fantastic under-the-radar get, and would give us a reliable lefty-option in the BP. He's no closer, but if Kimbrel leaves in FA this winter, Watson could have given us more late-inning stability in the BP for the next 1-2 years still.

We also had a chance (a slim one) to get Watson at the deadline, but even if SF decided to sell, that contract + Watson's performance would have made him a hard get given the state of our farm and other teams likely having the ability to outbid us for him (or Will Smith).

Again, hindsight is obviously all 20/20, maybe Watson would come here and suck, and I acknowledge it wasn't the biggest need in the winter, but it still shocked me the Sox didn't even seem to try to go after a lefty reliever, and this is what I'd change about the winter. Watson's played most of his career with the Pirates BUT has proven he can play in big market teams like the Dodgers, and now Giants, so I think he could have done well here too IMHO.

The BP would certainly look a lot better if we had Watson (both as another high-leverage option and being a lefty), and so that's the one thing I'd change. Still been a great year though no doubt, and our BP is still one of the best in the league but it certainly has it's question marks after Kimbrel and Barnes as to who our clear cut 3rd best guy is and who our other late-inning, high-leverage option is (still up for debate). Every other playoff contender it seems has a "Big 3" out of the BP, except us, which is a slight concern IMO.