The Red Sox, as we all know, need some help in their bullpen. All things considered, the unit has probably performed a little better than they’ve gotten credit for and a fair amount of the blame for their woes belongs to the rotation for making the relief corps work too much. That being said, given where Boston lies in the standings they are in a position at this point in the year where they can no longer just wait around for guys to figure it out. They need players performing at their best, and if they cannot then the adjustments need to be made in the minors. Ryan Brasier has learned that lesson the hard way. On Tuesday, he was optioned down to Pawtucket. Darwinzon Hernandez has been recalled to take his spot on the active roster.
The #RedSox today recalled LHP Darwinzon Hernandez from Triple-A Pawtucket. To make room on the 25-man roster, the club optioned RHP Ryan Brasier to Pawtucket.— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 16, 2019
I will admit to being pretty surprised by this move, which is not the same as saying I believe it is the wrong move. On the contrary, actually. Historically, the Red Sox have often been patient — sometimes to a fault — with players with track records. Granted, Brasier is not a multi-time All-Star or anything like that, but we all know how important he was last season. Brasier was a key cog in the World Series-winning bullpen and was expected to reprise that role again in 2019. Things just haven’t gone according to plan, and he’s just never been able to get on track. Monday night’s performance was apparently the final straw, as Brasier struggled in a six-run game and allowed the Blue Jays to pull to within two (with a little help from Matt Barnes).
This is a message of sorts from the Red Sox, in addition to simply being the right move to put the best team on the field. It doesn’t matter what you did last year. If you are not performing now and there are better options to replace you, then a move will be made. Brasier fits that bill with a 4.24 ERA on the season and having allowed runs in four of his last seven appearances. The team is just not in a position to keep running that out there.
Hernandez now gets a chance to really make his mark out of the bullpen. The lefty has long been thought of as a potential help in this role, but he’s spent most of the year in the rotation. He has been up in the majors a couple times in both roles, but he only recently shifted to relief on a full-time bases. Hernandez is now pitching exclusively out of the stretch as well, and in a small sample size against minor-league competition he is getting better results. Over four relief appearances in Pawtucket he has allowed one run over 4 1⁄3 innings with six strikeouts and, most impressively, only one walk. He likely won’t start in a high-leverage role, but he’ll have every opportunity to work his way up to that if he performs well.