This past weekend, we asked you to tell us what your strategy would be if you were the one making the calls upstairs. Unsurprisingly, winning is more popular than tanking and/or rebuilding. Both reader responses this week made attacking our weaknesses the goal rather than rebuilding the farm.
We Play For October - Phantom255x
What they said - Be aggressive, but not too aggressive. It’d be a bad idea to sell the farm for Madison Bumgarner or Edwin Encarnacion. We can still win the 2nd wild card with some touchups. We need a reliever, preferably a closing-caliber one, and should also give Mike Shawaryn a chance to start (or at least more chances out of the pen). If Nathan Eovaldi is out too long, maybe bring in a Mike Fiers-type addition. We can do these moves without going above $246 million.
Ignoring the fact Edwin Encarnacion was traded for a mediocre prospect (ranked somewhere in the high 20s in the Yankees farm system) I agree with the general sentiment that the Red Sox can improve without significantly hampering their budget.
Some of the bullpen names that Phantom lists off (Tony Watson, Will Smith, etc) would be welcome additions to a Red Sox staff that is relying heavily on regression candidate Ryan Brasier, and giving too many opportunities to Colten Brewer (who has shown decent stuff, some times, but is usually incredibly wild, and gives up way too many free passes). Some improvement can be made without even having to make a trade, as there’s a perfectly new Mike Shawaryn in the bullpen at present.
Through his first nine innings in the majors, Shawaryn has allowed only one earned run and struck out fourteen batters. It’s also come with four walks, and far too many fly-balls for my liking, but he still represents a better option than what we’ve been trotting out there in the first part of the season. With the all-star break looming, the trade deadline a month away, and Eovaldi still on the mend, I would not be against seeing what we really have in Shawaryn before we decide on whether or not we need to trade assets for an addition to the bullpen or rotation.
If we need to make a trade, a player like Tony Watson makes a ton of sense to me. He’s a lefty (our only lefty in the ‘pen presently is Josh Taylor, with Bobby Poyner as a backup) and he’s had a history of success. Ignoring the benefit of his addition to our post-season roster, he’d be helpful in taking the load off of Matt Barnes, who has taken the lion’s share of high leverage innings in Boston. Watson himself is no stranger to high leverage spots, as he also ranks in the top 20 relievers in baseball in gmLI (average leverage index when entering the game).
Reallocate, Reinforce, Repeat - Bosoxsince89
What they said - Push for the playoffs by reallocating our finances. Our money is tied up on redundant ball players. We do not need Eduardo Núñez or Steve Pearce. Marco Hernandez brings more to the table than Núñez, and Michael Chavis slots in nicely where Steve Pearce presently is. Doesn’t matter where, but get rid of them. Then get an established closer, a second middle reliever, and a fourth outfielder who can actually play the outfield (and hits from the right side). I suggest Yasiel Puig.
Bosox offers that we actually need two relievers in the pen, and I’m not inclined to argue on that point. In my opinion, we only have four relievers we can trust at all in Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, and Marcus Walden. And Walden is a bit of a complicated case, as he’s faced his own struggles. Ryan Brasier has already regressed into being more of a 6th inning option, and Mike Shawaryn is great, but relatively untested. Perhaps Shawaryn is that addition, but until he is given more chances it’s hard to tell for sure.
If we account for two new additions to the pen, it means two people are on the way out. I’d be demoting Brewer and Josh Taylor, and probably even Josh Smith, even though we do not need to demote a third pitcher yet. I’d want to roll with Barnes, Workman, Hembree, Walden, Brasier, Shawaryn, and the two new additions.
If we cut Núñez and Pearce for Hernandez and Chavis, we save enough money to actively acquire both bullpen arms I’d be targeting in that scenario (I’d want to spend the farm on Yates and Watson, personally) and possibly have enough left-over to acquire a fourth outfielder who can actually play the field. However, my strategy would just be to have Brock Holt play the outfield more often. I do not consider the outfield an area of concern at this point.
That’s all for this week!