This has been brewing all day, but it appears things are done, or at least to the point where there is no turning back. After rumors started creeping up this morning about a trade percolating between the Red Sox and Phillies this afternoon, and later reports indicating Heath Hembree’s name had been mentioned as well, reports are indicating the deal is done. Alex Speier was first on the news. It quickly came out that Boston would be getting a pair of pitchers back in Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold.
The #RedSox today traded RHPs Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree and cash considerations, along with a player to be named later or cash considerations, to the Phillies, in exchange for RHP Nick Pivetta and minor league RHP Connor Seabold.— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 22, 2020
As we talked about this afternoon, the Phillies trading for bullpen help makes all the sense in the world. While they’re under .500, they are still roughly at a 50 percent chance of making this expanded postseason field and a boosted bullpen will only help those odds. For as much talent as they have elsewhere on the roster, the relief corps has been brutal, entering Friday’s action with an ERA above 8.00, easily the worst mark in all of baseball.
They didn’t get elite, elite relievers back, but both Workman and Hembree should be major helps in this unit. Workman, as we know, was incredible in 2019 for the Red Sox, embracing his looping curveball to help him dominate with his solid fastball en route to a sub-2.00 ERA. The walks are a concern and he’s regressed a bit in a small sample this year, but there’s little reason to expect him not to be very good down the stretch. He is set to hit free agency this year. Hembree, meanwhile, certainly has some issues with command consistency but is very good against righties and can provide serviceable innings for the Phillies. He’s under control for one more season after this.
We can’t really speculate on the player to be named later or cash part of this, but that could be tied loosely to the performance of one or both of those guys down the stretch. Remember, players to be named later are a bit more complicated this year as anyone who is not in the 60-man player pool technically gets that designation. Teams have six months to announce a player to be named later.
As for the return, we’ll have more details on these two right-handed pitchers tomorrow morning, but can provide a quick overview in the meantime. Pivetta became a hot name among some more stat-oriented analysts a couple years ago when he paired his 4.77 ERA with a 3.75 FIP and a 3.40 DRA that season thanks to a strikeout rate above ten per nine innings. He’s never made good on those peripherals, though, and this season he has pitched to a 15.88 ERA over 5 2⁄3 innings in three relief appearances with four strikeouts and a walk. Last season he pitched to a 5.38 ERA split between the rotation and bullpen over 93 2⁄3 innings. Pivetta is 27 (he turns 28 in February) and will hit arbitration for the first time this winter.
Seabold, meanwhile, is a 24-year-old who was drafted in the third round out of Cal State Fullerton in the 2017 draft. The righty has made it as far as Double-A but is coming off a rough 2019 that was hampered by injury. His season got off to a late start thanks to an oblique injury at the end of spring and he only tossed 56 1⁄3 innings across three different levels, though he did pitch to a 2.70 ERA at Double-A over 40 1⁄3 innings. He also got some time at the Arizona Fall League, pitching to a 1.59 ERA with 22 strikeouts and three walks over 17 innings.
Ultimately, this is a move the Red Sox have to make, though they don’t exactly get elite talent back. As I said, we’ll have more on this in the morning.