Although the Red Sox remain in first place after Thursday’s bizarre and long victory over the Tigers, some flaws on this roster are starting to show over the last couple of weeks. Among them is the depth in the bullpen, which has been inconsistent at best beyond the top two or three arms. They are working to add to that depth on the minor-league level, first claiming former Mariners reliever Brandon Brennan off waivers earlier this week. They’ve added a bit more this week, reuniting with former closer Brandon Workman on a minor-league deal.
Brandon Workman is back. Red Sox sign him to a minor-league deal and send him to Worcester.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) May 6, 2021
As Cotillo notes above, Workman will head to Worcester to get some work out of the Triple-A bullpen.
The righty, of course, originally came up with the Red Sox back in 2013 when he served an important role in that team’s run to the World Series. He suffered through some injury issues after that, but made it back to the top of the depth chart in 2019 when he served as the team’s closer for the second half of that season. Workman was dominant that year, pitching to a 1.88 ERA over 71 2⁄3 innings with 104 strikeouts and 45 walks.
That would be his last full season in Boston, though. He started last summer with the Red Sox but with the team fully out of it by the deadline he was shipped along with Heath Hembree to the Phillies in exchange for Nick Pivetta and Connor Seabold. Workman had a terrible run with the Phillies, then signed with the Cubs this past winter. In just 10 appearances covering eight innings of work, he allowed nine runs (six earned) on 12 hits and seven walks with 11 strikeouts. Over the last two seasons he has a 6.18 ERA.
Workman was never going to be as good as he was in 2019, when he overcame some walk issues to be as dominant as he was. That said, the drop has been quick and harsh. The Red Sox are hoping they can get him back to that level by getting back to some of the basics he leaned on in 2019. Whether or not they can actually achieve that is a different story, but this is a no-risk deal with him getting to audition again in Triple-A. I suspect we’ll see him at some point soon because the depth alongside him in Worcester isn’t anything to write home about, but he’ll certainly have to earn that promotion to some extent.